Benefits Street star dead – TV star who rose to fame with White Dee dies five years after show

BENEFITS Street star Fungi – who rose to fame alongside White Dee in the controversial Channel 4 show – has died aged 50.

The unlikely star, whose real name was James Clarke, died from a heart attack triggered by a suspected drug overdose in the early hours of today.

Having battled booze and crack addiction for years, he had been living in a house for recovering drug addicts in Kings Heath, Birmingham.

Police and ambulance crews were called at around 2.45am but, despite attempts to revive him, he could not be saved.

The cause of death is not known but police are not treating it as suspicious.

Dad-of-four Fungi shot to fame following the notorious Channel 4 series following the residents in Winson Green, Birmingham.

He was one of the first people to appear on the show in 2014, which followed the lives of residents on James Turner Street, where most locals received benefits.

On the show, Fungi revealed how he would take free hotel lobby magazines and sell them in the streets for £2.50.

today, his ex-partner Donna Reilly, 44, who raised his eldest daughter Kirsty, 29, after kicking him out, said: “His daughter is in bits.”

Talking on the doorstep of her Birmingham home, she added: “The family are very upset, we’ve only just heard.

“It’s been a long time, about 30 years.
“The last time I saw him was at his dad’s funeral in January.

“I haven’t seen him since, I don’t keep in touch with him.”

Hours after hearing the news of his death, she wrote on Facebook: “Death leaves a heartache no can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”