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Mon, Feb 23, 2009
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Dying British reality TV star prepares to wed

LONDON (Reuters) - Terminally ill reality television star Jade Goody weds her ex-convict lover on Sunday in a hurriedly arranged ceremony that is dominating media coverage in celebrity-obsessed Britain.

The forthright 27-year-old was unknown before she appeared on the program "Big Brother" in 2002 and has since ridden the rollercoaster of instant fame to become the show's best-known participant.

She wrote her autobiography and sold her own perfume but then undermined her popularity by making racist comments about Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty when they both appeared on a celebrity edition of Big Brother in 2007.

Last year she announced on television she had cervical cancer and this month she said she was terminally ill and would marry her 21-year-old fiance Jack Tweed before it was too late.

Bald from chemotherapy, she is living out her last days on television, with media commentators praising her dignity and analyzing her role in modern British culture.

Britain's Justice Secretary Jack Straw intervened on Friday to extend Tweed's bail conditions so they can spend their wedding night together.

Rights to photograph and film the ceremony at the Down Hall country house in Essex, east of London, have been sold for a sum put by British media as high as 1 million pounds.

Her publicist Max Clifford says the money is for Goody's two sons from a previous relationship.

Wearing a dress donated by Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed, Jade will be serenaded by girl group the Sugababes and will dine on a cake provided by a top London restaurant.

Ahead of the wedding, Goody joked with awaiting photographers surrounded by bridesmaids wearing skullcaps in solidarity to match her hairless scalp.

Clifford said Goody had no regrets about living in the glare of the public eye even when the fascination was renewed by her imminent death.

"She has loved every minute of the seven years since she became a reality TV star," Clifford told BBC television.

"She is living her life the way she wants to live her life and even now anything that happens is going to be the way that Jade wants it to happen."

(Reporting by Tim Castle)

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