Dame Deborah James passed away aged 40 on Tuesday. The cancer campaigner, known as ‘Bowel Babe’, had been receiving end-of-life care at her parents’ home in Surrey after stopping active treatment for stage four bowel cancer in May.
James was made a dame this Spring after she raised £6million for Cancer Research UK through her BowelBabe Fund.
Posting a touching statement to James’ followers on Tuesday, her family wrote: ‘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.
‘Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.
‘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 awareness was inspiring.
‘We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy long into the future through the @bowelbabefund. Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.’
James’ family then shared her final poignant message with the world: ‘Find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope,’ she said. ‘And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.’
Following the news, tributes began to flood in from across the internet.
'Rest in piece Deborah James. What an incredible, fierce, bright and brilliant woman,' wrote Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner on Twitter. ‘Thank you for your rebellious hope and the millions you have inspired.’
‘Heartbroken that Dame Deborah James has died,’ added broadcaster Julia Bradbury. ‘She has been the most incredible ambassador of life and cancer campaigner. My thoughts are with her family & children. Such a huge loss. Your bright light will shine on Deborah.’
‘No-one has done more to champion cancer patients, demystify dying, raise funds for cancer research & break down the barriers between the lab, the clinic and the patient,’ wrote NHS doctor Rachel Clarke. ‘Thank you wonderful @bowelbabe, for your magnificent spirit & thirst for life.’