Dame Deborah James dies aged 40 after bowel cancer battle

28 June 2022, 21:20 | Updated: 29 June 2022, 08:03

Dame Deborah James has tragically passed away.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Dame Deborah James has died aged 40 after a battle with bowel cancer, her family announced today.

The author and campaigner, known to millions as Bowel Babe, dedicated her life to raising awareness of bowel cancer since being diagnosed five years ago.

She raised millions for cancer research, after which she was given a Damehood by Prince William, who personally visited her at home.

In a statement released to Instagram, 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.

"And a few final things from Deborah…“find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.”

Deborah announced that she would be stopping cancer treatment and moving to hospice care in early May.

At the time, she wrote: "We have tried everything, but my body simply isn’t playing ball.

"My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them."

Deborah raised millions for bowel cancer research
Deborah raised millions for bowel cancer research. Picture: Shutterstock

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge previously stated that Deborah had 'captured the heart of the nation' with her 'zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society'.

They added: "Her tireless efforts to raise awareness of bowel cancer & end the stigma of treatment are inspiring."