A terrible loss. BBC host Deborah James passed away at the age of 40.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dame Deborah James; the most wonderful wife, daughter, sister, mom. Deborah passed away peacefully today surrounded by her family,” read a message from her family shared on her official Instagram page on Tuesday, June 28.
The social media obituary called James, aka Bowelbabe, “an inspiration” to speak openly about her diagnosis. “Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, break taboos and change the conversation about cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and raise awareness was inspiring,” the tribute continued.
The obituary noted that Deborah’s family plans to continue her legacy through the Bowelbabe Fund.
“And a few last things from Deborah…”Find a life worth enjoying; Take risks; deeply grounded love; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hopes. And finally, check your poop – it could just save your life,” the post concluded.
The TV personality shared son Hugo, 14, and daughter Eloise, 13, with husband Sebastien Bowen, whom she married in 2008. James previously revealed she was cancer-free after a lengthy battle with the life-threatening stage IV diagnosis.
“It’s kind of crazy (and I honestly haven’t digested this for a few reasons), but right now I have no evidence of cancer in my body!!. Which seems insane when you consider that at one point I had 15 tumors!” the British native wrote in 2020 after discovering she was in remission.
In a terrible twist of fate, the cancer returned in January 2022, but the BBC podcast host used her social media platforms to stay positive.
“I think it can sometimes be forgotten that the greatest challenge and celebration is to weave real life through Cancer – despite how difficult it can be to do so,” James wrote via Instagram at the time. “Sometimes I fear that, once tainted with the Cancer brush, there is an expectation that one can only talk about cancer forever. That people forget the emotional toll that can take. The historic years of talking, writing on every topic related to it. I love more than anything when I see stories of people living with cancer – celebrating life!”
After a nearly six-year battle with her diagnosis, James revealed she entered hospice care in the comfort of her own home after spending the last few months of her life in and out of the hospital.
“The message I never wanted to write. We’ve tried everything, but my body just isn’t cooperating. My active care has ended and I have now moved to a home care hospice,” the former teacher told her social media followers about her decision in May 2022. with my incredible family around me and the focus is on making sure I not hurt and spend time with them,” she wrote. “Nobody knows how much longer I have, but I can’t walk, I sleep most days and most of the things I took for granted are sky dreams. I know we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or a magical new breakthrough, my body just can’t take it anymore.”
Her announcement sparked an outpouring of support at the time, with James admitting to the… BBC that same month she was “stunned” at the love she received online.
The journalist also noted that her fundraising had reached new heights, with her BowelBabe Fund for Cancer Research receiving more than $6 million in donations following her announcement.
“It makes me feel like I’m deeply loved,” she explained. But it makes me feel like we’re all in it eventually and we all want to make a difference and say, ‘You know what? Destroy your cancer.’ You know, we can do better.”
The F**k your cancer author added: “Over the past five years I’ve campaigned, I’ve talked about awareness, I’ve shared my story for a reason – the laughs, the giggles, the sharing that you can live with cancer, revealing what cancer can get out of.” See Like it. But ultimately what I really want is that I don’t want other Deborahs to go through this. We know that if we catch cancer early, we can cure it.”
Before her death, Prince William visited James’ home on May 14 to give her a gift.
“Prince William came to our family home today!! I am very honored that he joined us for afternoon tea and champagne where he not only spent a lot of time chatting with all my family but also honored me with my Damehood,” she captioned a series of Instagram photos from the day. “It’s kind of surreal to have a royal doll in the house, and yes, you can imagine the cleaning antics and dish preparation were antics – but it was all irrelevant because William was so nice and he set us all up. put us at ease.”
The podcast host praised William, 39, for being “passionate in improving oncology outcomes as president of the Royal Marsden,” noting, “It was such a special day for all my family, making memories that will last a lifetime.” last a lifetime. He is always welcome back!”