First Dates' most tragic stars – from cancer battles to heart-breaking deaths that left families devastated | The Sun

IT is the dating show that has seen many a match made over the infamous dinner table.

Fronted by Fred Sirieix, First Dates has been a popular addition to the Channel 4 listings for many years.

It has created household names out of many of its stars with Laura Tott and CiCi Coleman all becoming TV regulars from the show.

However, many have faced tragedy throughout their lives.

A number of the participants on the programme have sadly passed away leaving many fans saddened at the news. One tragic show star even passed before his episode made it to transmission.

Here is a look at some of the show's most tragic stars.

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Judy Fitzgerald

Judy Fitzgerald tragically passed after her appearenceCredit: Social Media Collect

32 year old nurse and former Miss Bikini Ireland, Judy Fitzgerald, tragically died unexpectedly in May of this year.

She made her TV debut on the Irish edition of First Dates last year where she enjoyed a dinner date with Aaron.

Judy was a frontline worker and saw tributes pour in following her heartbreaking passing.

One friend described her as a "girl that would light up a room with her smile," before another pal said she was a "beautiful soul".

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Blonde beauty Judy enjoyed a flirty date with Aaron who cheekily remarked that there was someone else in Ireland "prettier than him" in the form of Judy.

Merlin Griffiths

Merlin has been a regular face on the Channel 4 dating show thanks to his role as a much-loved bartender.

As part of his role, Merlin would often be the first one to clap his eyes on a couple's first meeting and share his views on how he thought the match would go.

Skilled at his job, the dates would be left impressed as the drinks that were on offer.

However, away from the cameras, Merlin has faced some tragic health woes.

In 2021, the 48 year old confirmed that he had been diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.

He shared his journey with the illness on Instagram for his fans to keep up to date and he was left flooded with well wishes.

Thankfully, the star confirmed that he had completed his treatment in April this year and was cancer-free.

He then said to fellow suffers of the terrible disease: "Love to all you fellow bowel cancer peeps, keep on keeping on!"

Jordan Dunbar

Tragically Jordan died at the age of 29 – years after he made his debut on First Dates.

In 2017, he took part in the programme to see if he was able to find his forever match.

Despite hitting things off with Barry, the pair struggled to make anything romantic and confirmed that they were just friends at the end of the show.

The star took part in the Irish edition of the show as well as another TV programee, My Yellow Brick Road.

Speaking about the star's tragic passing, First Dates Ireland's production company COCO Content said: "Our hearts our broken with the death of Jordan Dunbar, such a talented and beautiful person. We first met him on First Dates and he went on to present My Yellow Brick Road on RTE. He was a joy to work with and it was a privilege to know him. Deepest sympathy to all who loved him."

Norman Whitter

In 2017, fans were left heartbroken when it was confirmed that Norman Whitter had passed away before his episode had even aired.

Aged 72, the show saw Norman enjoy his first date in over 40 years.

He met 74 year old Margaret on the show and the pair continued to date and enjoy each other's company for some timeafter the recording.

However, Norman's untimely death followed which left many heartbroken.



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Issuing a statement to confirm his death, the programme makers said: "After going on several dates, Norman took Margaret to a Masonic ladies night.

"Norman's motto was to live life to the full. At 72, Norman's love for life took him to Greece where he sadly passed away surrounded by the family he adored."

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