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22 March 2019, 14:21 | Updated: 1 April 2019, 08:12
The mum-of-one died aged 40, just three days after being diagnosed with fatal blood cancer
Gemma Thomas, the wife of Sky Sports presenter and former Blue Peter host Simon Thomas, tragically died in November 2017.
The mother-of-one lost her life suddenly aged 40, just three days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Here, we explain more about the cancer Gemma suffered from and take a look at how Simon is coping in the wake of her death.
Gemma Thomas died suddenly on November 24, 2017, just three days after being diagnosed with blood cancer following a visit to the doctor.
The TV presenter struggled to cope in the wake of his wife’s death and admitted to visiting a counsellor to deal with his sudden loss, saying: "I didn't cope very well. I’ve been to a grief counsellor since three weeks after Gemma died, it really helps me. Grief is painful whoever you've lost and whatever time in your life you lose them.”
Simon also recently revealed that he considered taking his own life after Gemma’s death but said his son was the ‘single biggest reason’ he kept on going.
Two years after losing his wife, Simon appears to have found love again with girlfriend Derrina Jebb. On his birthday in February, Simon shared a sweet image on Instagram of a pillow Jebb and son Ethan had made him, which was made from his late wife's skirts.
View this post on Instagram
It’s difficult to put into words what losing someone you love so much does to you when it happens so early in life. You don’t only mourn the loss of them, you mourn the lost years with them. Try as I do to be the best Dad I can for my boy, I mourn the fact he’s lost those immeasurable years of having bis mum. Life as we knew it has been shredded.
Gemma was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia – a rare form of cancer that affects around 650 people each year in the UK.
“Leukaemia is cancer of the white blood cells. Acute leukaemia means it progresses quickly and aggressively, and usually requires immediate treatment,” explains the NHS.
It’s classified according to the type of white blood cells it targets – lymphocytes or myeloid cells. In Gemma's case it affected the latter.
She began a course of chemotherapy straight away but her condition deteriorated quickly and she died on the same day that Simon was told she had just hours to live.
View this post on Instagram
This was my wife Gemma celebrating her 40th birthday in July 2017 - radiating happiness and health. Just four months later Acute Myeloid Leukaemia exploded into her bloodstream and stole her life and robbed my boy of the years ahead, growing up with his mother beside him. Cancer is evil. It still destroys far too many lives. Thank you to @bloodwise for all you do. #WorldCancerDay
Simon Thomas and his late wife Gemma have one son, Ethan. He was just eight years old at the time of his mother's death.
The Sky Sports presenter, who married Gemma in 2005, announced in April 2018 that he was taking some time out from work to care for his only child in the wake of her death.
He later addressed the tough time the family had been going through, telling This Morning's Phil and Holly: "I think I woke up every one [in the hospital] as I screamed. I screamed to God saying: 'Why have you left my son without my mum?'
"I got home [afterwards] and grabbed him and looked deep into his brown eyes and said: 'They couldn't make mummy better'.
"You can't dress it up. I said: 'Mummy's died'. He collapsed on the floor and I collapsed there with him.
"He's been dealt a tough break in life at the age of eight, he's lost his mum already."