The family of beloved TV presenter and fitness guru Kylie ‘KJ’ Jaye have opened up about about her silent battle with anorexia – revealing they only found out she was sick nine months before it ended her life.
Ms Jaye died two weeks shy of her 49th birthday in March after collapsing on the living room floor in her Gold Coast apartment.
Fans knew the Sydney-born Channel 10 and E! Entertainment presenter was deeply unwell for two decades, but the details of her death were shrouded in secrecy.
On Sunday, almost a month after her body shut down, her distraught family divulged the intimate details of her struggle with the eating disorder with the hope of shedding light on the silent illness killing millions of Australians.
Pictured: Kylie Jaye at the showing of Farah Angsana Couture held at The Chateau Marmont Penthouse on July 23, 2007, in Hollywood, California
Kylie Jaye died from a previously undisclosed condition at the the age of 48. She is pictured in her final Instagram photo posted March 3
Her little brother Isaac Humphries said Ms Jaye only admitted she had anorexia while lying in a hospital bed nine months ago and used a ‘cover illness’ for years to hide the extent of the disorder.
Mr Humphries said his sister wanted to destigmatise the illness, but felt hampered by her career as health and wellbeing idol who had a series of yoga and diet programs.
‘Her media profile and reputation for healthy living may have made talking openly about her eating disorder even more difficult,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
Ms Jaye struggle with the illness since 2002 but the situation became dire over the past five years when her career became more demanding, and her organs started shutting down.
Pictured: Kylie Jaye, who died from anorexia at the age of 48 in March on the Gold Coast
Pictured: Kylie with her brother Isaac Humphries. The pair were close and, on Sunday, he revealed she had anorexia
Isaac Humphries (right) remembered his sister Kylie (left) as a ‘devoted aunt, savvy and sassy’
She was never formally diagnosed with an eating disorder, but anorexia is listed as her cause of death.
Mr Humphries said his family are proud of the way she spent her life highlighting the ways to get back to health.
‘These were unquestionably held as Kylie’s true beliefs.. [But] the spotlight brings advantages and disadvantages, when it comes to personal health issues,’ he said.
The family have pledged to set up a foundation in her name in the hope that it will help destigmatize the silent killer, and have called on government departments to fund public health structures and support early diagnosis.
Kylie Jaye (pictured in 2005 promoting Pilates TV) used her well-publicised ‘Self-Health’ mantra to manage her medical condition
Pictured: Kylie Jaye at a cocktail party at the Crystal Palace at Luna Park in Sydney on October 27, 2004
‘We want to help the sufferers of this illness find the support, the information, the tools, and mainly the hope they need in order to release the life-sapping grip of this deadly thing,’ Mr Humphries said.
University of Sydney eating disorder expert Dr Stephen Touyz said eating disorders are difficult to detect because sufferers hide the illness to avoid eating, and subsequently putting on weight.
Ms Jaye’s career began with Channel 10 as a television host, before she went on to create and produce a series of lifestyle shows that aired in 45 countries, while Mr Roberts’ TV career started on Channel 9 when he hosted the cooking program Fresh.
When she died, Mr Humphries penned a gut-wrenching tribute to his older sister (pictured right) on Facebook
Kylie Jaye (pictured) was described as an ‘orb of energy’ with an infectious smile who showed kindness to everyone she met
When she died, Mr Humphries penned a gut-wrenching tribute to his older sister on Facebook.
‘Today I was told your light, the brightest of any I have had the pleasure to witness or be a part of has flickered out for the last time,’ he wrote on Facebook.
‘I remember you as my big sister, my defender, as a savvy and sassy business savant, Aunty to my kids, but mostly I remember you as my friend.
‘I wished I could have told you one last time how amazing you were, how much I loved you and how much you meant to me and my family. You will be missed so so much.’
He described his sister as an ‘orb of energy’ with an infectious smile who showed kindness to everyone she met.
Ms Jaye’s devastated parents said: ‘Our world is so much sadder now you are no longer with us, you were amazing and inspiring, words cannot describe our feeling of loss and grief.’
Shattered friends and family have paid tribute to health guru and former television host Kylie Jaye (pictured)
Ms Jaye’s devastated parents added: ‘Our world is so much sadder now you are no longer with us, you were amazing and inspiring, words cannot describe our feeling of loss and grief.’
A friend wrote: ‘Farewell, my Jaye Bird. I loved the time we spent together and the wonderful songs we wrote together. You will always be in my thoughts. I will miss you dearly.’
One of her most popular shows, Yoga TV, was funded by sponsors which became a huge hit in Australia and 35 other countries, solidifying Ms Jaye’s entrepreneurial spirit and reputation as a lifestyle guru.
She was also a NSW finalist in the 2002 Business Woman of the Year Awards and wrote 10 books, including including Australian hit sellers ‘Graze’ and ‘Strike a Pose’.
A noticeably slender Ms Jaye posted her final Instagram post on March 3.
‘Bali baby.. here I come,’ she wrote.
WHAT IS ANOREXIA?
Anorexia is an eating disorder and a mental health condition.
People diagnosed with it try to keep their weight as low as possible by eating little or excessive exercise.
Men and women can develop the illness, however it typically starts in the mid-teens.
Those with anorexia can have a distorted image of their bodies, thinking they’re fat when in fact they are severely underweight.
Causes of the condition are unknown, but those with it have either low self-esteem, have a family history of eating disorders or feel pressured from society or place of work.
Long term health complications can include muscle and bone problems, loss of sex drive, kidney or bowel problems or having a weakened immune system.
Treatment for anorexia can include cognitive behavioural therapy.