Blogger, broadcaster, and prominent cancer campaigner Dame Deborah James, has died aged 40. James was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, and had been receiving end-of-life care at home in the weeks leading up to her death. In a statement posted on Instagram on June 28, James’ family wrote that she “passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family.”
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
James’ Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK aimed to raise funds for and awareness of bowel cancer. In James’ final message shared by her family, she encouraged people to look out for potential cancer symptoms as it “could just save your life.” You can visit the NHS website for more information on bowel cancer symptoms.
In May 2022, the You, Me and the Big C podcast host was given a Damehood in recognition of her cancer fundraising. Prince William visited James at her parents’ house to award the honour in person.
Now, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid tribute to James once more. Taking to social media, they said they were “so sad to hear the heartbreaking” announcement of James’ death. “Our thoughts are with her children, her family and her loved ones. Deborah was an inspirational and unfalteringly brave woman whose legacy will live on,” the couple said via Twitter.
Read on to see what other celebrities have spoken out to honour James’ memory.
“We will remember Dame Deborah as a dear friend of the Lorraine show and as the heart and soul of our bowel cancer campaign No Butts. She leaves a lasting legacy and has saved countless lives through all the work she did to break the ‘poo taboo,’” Lorraine Kelly wrote on Instagram.
Commenting on Kelly’s post, Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid wrote, “Sending your family all of my love - what an incredible woman.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also described James as an “inspiration,” adding on Twitter, “The awareness she brought to bowel cancer and the research her campaigning has funded will be her enduring legacy. Because of her, many many lives will be saved.”
Read more celebrity tributes to Dame Deborah James below.