Friends and family were today mourning the death of Tracey Billingsworth, who died yesterday at the age of 38. Tracey, from Thurrock in Essex, held the title of the World's largest sufferer of bulimia - an eating disorder whereby the suffer causes themselves to vomit.
"She was such a big person, in every way,” said her mother, Sharon. “She suffered terribly with her eating disorder, but she never let it get her down, or stop her doing what she wanted to do. She would just bounce from one episode to the next.”
Tracey had suffered from weight problems since she was a small girl. Indeed her Weight Watcher's journal from the last two decades reveal how her weight had yo-yo-ed from a maximum of just under 24 stone to a low of over 22 stone. After many years of struggle she was diagnosed as bulimic by the Upstairs School of Homoeopathic Remedies - above the dance studio in Basildon town centre. Traditionally bulimia is associated with people who are underweight, however in Tracey's case the frequent and regular periods of vomiting were exacerbated by other conditions.
"She had always struggled with her weight, since she became big-boned as a child. When Princess Diana discovered bulimia, Tracey just knew that was the condition for her,” said her tearful mum. “The people at the Homoeopathy School were amazed that someone who threw up as much as she did could be so large, but she had such a big frame and such a desire for life that if a bout of bulimia did strike her it would not prevent her from rejoining her friends in the pub and carrying on as though nothing had happened.”
Mrs Billingsworth said the hardest part would probably be quiet Sunday shopping trips, where Tracey's ebullient personality would be sorely missed.
“Everyone loved her, she used to charm the young lads who worked at Krispie Kreme, where she was such a regular customer. She would often get an extra half dozen free.” said Sharon. “Sunday's won't be the same without the sound of her crashing into the downstairs loo and those sad sounds of her condition. She always had a smile for us and never let it get the family down. No matter how bad it would be she would be home in time for Sunday lunch and always wanted extra helpings of my trifle.”
Indeed, it was the muffled sounds of her condition that would often signal the heart-breaking end to a fun-filled night out .
“We would go out to Bingo of a Wednesday night and have fifteen or twenty Bacardi Breezers and a Kebab or two and often, even before we got home, Tracey's bulimia would flare up in the back of the Taxi.”
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