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Private funeral planned for tragic Tara as heartbroken family says she died in sleep

By Kerri-Ann Roper

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson died peacefully in her sleep, her family has said.

The former "It girl" and socialite was found dead, aged 45, at her London home on Wednesday, months after revealing she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

A death notice said: "Tara Clare died peacefully in her sleep," and added that a private funeral will be held.

Her sister, author Santa Montefiore, made a tribute on social media the day after her death.

The author tweeted a black and white photograph of a smiling Palmer-Tomkinson, and wrote: "My darling sister. I miss you."

She also used a heartbroken emoji in her message.

In November, Palmer-Tomkinson said she was being treated for a non-malignant growth in her pituitary gland and added she feared she would die after being told of her condition.

She was diagnosed with the tumour last January after she returned from a ski trip, and was also suffering from an auto-immune disease which caused tiredness, joint pain and acute anaemia.

Palmer-Tomkinson's close friends the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were among the first to pay tribute.

The royal couple said they were "deeply saddened and our thoughts are so much with the family" after the news broke.

Former Blue singer Duncan James, who was once romantically linked to Palmer-Tomkinson, wrote a tribute in The Sun saying: "Tara had a cheeky, naughty, mischievous side that I loved. She would always make me smile and laugh in ways that nobody else could."

Ivan Massow, former chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), said they were "unlikely friends" after they "hit it off" when they shared a car to a charity event at Ascot.

But he said that in recent weeks it had been difficult to get hold of Palmer-Tomkinson, who, due to years of drug abuse, had reconstructive surgery on her nose in 2006 after her septum collapsed.

He said: "I hadn't seen her for over a month, and it's been hard to reach her.

"With people like this, you have to sort of let go with love... you can't badger them."

Asked if he thought she had returned to a "dark place", Mr Massow said: "Well, I know that every time I didn't hear from her, that's where she was...".

She appeared on television shows including reality series I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2002. She came second to DJ Tony Blackburn.

Darren Day, who appeared alongside her in the jungle, wrote on Twitter that he was "so sad".

He added: "Thoughts and love to her family RIP Tara x."

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