DEBORAH James’ heartbroken family have said they are “incredibly proud” of her in an emotional tribute following her death.
The inspirational Sun columnist died from bowel cancer at the age of 40 today surrounded by her loved ones.
Mum-of-two Deborah, known as BowelBabe to her legions of Instagram fans, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer just days before Christmas in 2016, at the age of 35.
Her devastated family confirmed her death this evening in a touching Instagram post alongside an picture and video of the campaigner.
“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.”
Courageous Deborah penned a final message for her followers, which her family shared at the end of their statement.
It read: “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.’ x”
Despite being told she had an eight per cent chance of living five years, Deborah defied the odds stacked against her.
After celebrating her 40th birthday last October – a birthday she never dreamed she would live to see – the brave campaigner marked the five-year milestone a few months later.
In the five-and-a-half years since her diagnosis Deborah changed the conversation around bowel cancer, raising vital awareness and breaking down taboos.
She tirelessly banged the F*** Cancer drum – writing a book of the same name – and vowed to do everything she could to help others avoid her same fate.
Her inspiration was the fierce love she had for her children, Eloise, 12, and Hugo, 14.
She dreamt of a future where they wouldn’t have to fear cancer, where a cure would be readily available and the disease would no longer be a killer.