A former manager of Rose McGowan took her own life after becoming "collateral damage" in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, her family has claimed.

Film producer Jill Messick, who battled depression, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday aged 50.

She was McGowan's manager at the time the actress claims she was raped by movie mogul Weinstein during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.

Last month, Weinstein released alleged correspondence from Ms Messick, in which she wrote that McGowan told her she "consensually" got into a Jacuzzi with him.

In a statement confirming her death, Ms Messick’s family said she had become "collateral damage in an already horrific story".

They added that she had opted "not to add to the feeding frenzy" and allowed her reputation "to be sullied despite having done nothing wrong" after McGowan accused her of failing to support her fight against Weinstein.

Image:Rose McGowan accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her

The family insisted McGowan had reported the alleged incident to her then-manager without calling it rape and Ms Messick informed her bosses, who said they would "handle the situation".

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"Seeing her name in headlines again and again, as part of one person's attempt to gain more attention for her personal cause, along with Harvey's desperate attempt to vindicate himself, was devastating for her," Ms Messick’s family said.

"It broke Jill, who was just starting to get her life back on track."

Ms Messick joined Weinstein's film company Miramax as an executive in 1997 and went on to produce films She's All That, Get Over It, Mean Girls, Frida and Baby Mama.

Harvey Weinstein and actress Rose McGowan at the 2007 premiere of Grindhouse
Image:Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan pictured together in 2007

The mother-of-two suffered a manic episode five years ago but had "fought to put her life back together", her family said.

"Most individuals would be horrified to have their name spotlighted in a major international news story — let alone their photograph," the family added.

"We cannot forget that the media is a fearsome tool which cannot be used indiscriminately or even inadvertently to create further victims.

"There is a responsibility when using a platform to accurately expose criminals, predators, mistruths and misdeeds while protecting the actual truth of third parties."

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Weinstein, who denies allegations of non-consensual sex, has not yet publicly commented on Ms Messick’s death.

Sky News has contacted McGowan for comment.

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