Dame Deborah James has died aged 40 after a fight against colon cancer with which she captured the hearts of the nation.
The mother of two “passed away peacefully on Tuesday,” her family said in a statement.
The BBC podcast host raised more than £6.75 million for cancer after revealing she was receiving end-of-life care in early May.
In a statement last night, her family said: “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.
“Deborah, who many of you will know as Darmbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and dedication to Charity Campaigns, Fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness about cancer that has touched so many lives.”
‘Take risks, love intensely, have no regrets’
The statement added: “Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and raise awareness was inspiring.
“We thank you for giving us some private time as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy well into the future through the @bowelbabefund. Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.
“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 save your life.”
She revealed in early May that she had stopped active treatment and received end-of-life care at her parents’ home in Woking, in the presence of her husband Sebastien and their two children.
The former deputy director was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and went on to keep her nearly one million Instagram followers updated on her treatments.
Dancing their way through the treatment
Her candid posts about her progress and diagnosis, including videos of her dancing her way through treatment, have been praised by the public and media alike.
Together with Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland, she launched the podcast You, Me And The Big C in 2018.
The trio, all former or current cancer patients, candidly discussed life, treatment, and other topics related to cancer.
Bland died in September of that year at age 40, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dame Deborah announced in early May 2022 that she will receive end-of-life home care.
“The tweet I never wanted to write,” she said on Twitter.
“It’s time to say goodbye. 5 years of preparation doesn’t make it easy.”
After making the announcement, she set up the Bowelbabe Fund, which raised more than £6 million – more than 24 times her original goal of £250,000.
‘Honored and shocked’
She was made a lady for her efforts, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying, “If ever there was an honor richly deserved, this is it.”
Dame Deborah later said she felt “honoured and shocked” to even be considered for the honor.
Another surprise was that her damehood was awarded by the Duke of Cambridge, who joined her family at home for afternoon tea and champagne.
Damehoods are usually awarded by members of the royal family, including William, during investiture ceremonies that take place in royal palaces, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
She also revealed that she had completed her second book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, which is due out on August 18.
Her first book, F—You Cancer: How To Face The Big C, Live Your Life And Still Be Yourself, was published in 2018.