A WIRRAL teenager has died from suspected swine flu.
Olivia Rae Clee-Barnett, 17, from Wirral, died in the early hours of Sunday January 2.
She was the sixth person from Merseyside to lose her fight against the illness.
Shocked friends set up an internet Facebook page to remember Olivia, who attended Wallasey School’s sixth form.
Her family were too devastated to speak this week.
But headteacher Phil Duffy paid tribute to Olivia, describing her as a “very able student”.
He said: “We are devastated by the news about Olivia, whoŠwas a very friendly, popular and positive member of our school.
“She was a very able student with a particular passion for music and theatre.
“We feel this loss deeply and are in close contact with Olivia’s family to support themŠin whatever wayŠwe can.”
He said staff and students affected by the loss will be offered bereavement counselling, adding: “Our hearts go out to Olivia’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Olivia was part of a cast from the school involved in a theatre production of Grease which brought them national TV stardom in 2009.
The school beat 500 other schools nationwide to win a Sky TV competition called Grease: The School Musical.
Their prize was to perform the show at the Novello Theatre in heart of the West End and their journey, which saw them work with stars such as Duncan James of boy band Blue and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, was filmed for a TV series.
The final show attracted just short of 1m viewers, beating the same night’s viewing figures for hit US show The Simpsons.
The Mayor of Wirral at the time, Cllr Andrew Hodson, said the school had brought pride not just to Wallasey but to the whole of Wirral.
Olivia was also a finalist in a literary competition run by the Liverpool Athenaeum with other partners, including the Wirral News’ sister paper the Liverpool Daily Post.
More than 1,000 people joined the Facebook page paying tribute to the teen within the first 24 hours of it being launched.
One friend posted a picture of Olivia, calling her “Livvy”.
The message said: “She was drop dead gorgeous, she had friends, a family and a boyfriend who all love her very much.
“She was smart and extremely talented at singing, acting, dancing and creative writing. She was a brilliant friend.
“She’ll be 17 forever now. She’ll never grow old or get grey hairs or wrinkles. She’ll always be beautiful.
“We’ll never forget you Livvy. You’re one of a kind.”
The friend said Olivia was asthmatic and died of swine flu on Sunday January 2 at 2am.
Arrowe Park hospital, in Wirral, remains closed to visitors to halt the spread of swine flu.
A spokesman said ward managers could use discretion.