Dame Deborah James has finally lost her bowel cancer battle and died aged 40.
The mum-of-two, known globally as ‘BowelBabe’ thanks to the nickname she gave herself during her cancer research fundraising, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer days before Christmas in 2016 – and defied doctor’s warnings she only had an eight percent chance of living beyond 2021.
Her family said in an Instagram post on Tuesday (28.06.22): “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy. Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family.’
Mum to Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, with her husband of 13 years Seb, Dame Deborah was hailed an “inspiration” by her legions of fans after she candidly shared her cancer struggles on social media, and as a presenter on Radio 5 Live’s ‘You, Me and the Big C’.
On May 9, she shared a goodbye message by saying she was being moved into hospice-at-home care to be surrounded by family as “my body simply isn’t playing ball”.
The avid runner – who raised a fortune for cancer research by doing marathons and charity races – insisted she had left “no stone unturned” in her hunt for a “magic medicine miracle”.
Her Bowelbabe Fund for cancer research was flooded with more than £6.5 million in donations and she was famously made a dame by the Duke of Cambridge at her family home, with dad-of-three Prince William, 40, praising her for “going above and beyond” to leave “a very special memory” as her legacy.
She wrote in one of her newspaper columns about her battled to inspire and create a cancer-free future for her children: “I want them to remember me as being passionate about life and living – and passionate about them.
“I want them to recall their quirky, crazy mum who danced with them in the rain, drank wine and laughed when she wanted to cry.
“I want them to be proud of me, for making an impact and raising awareness of cancer and its signs and symptoms.
“I want them to live in a world where they don’t need to worry about cancer – and I want them to know I did everything I could to make that happen for them.”