“Bowl Babe” Deborah James, who battled cancer, has died at 40

Journalist and BBC personality Dame Deborah James has died aged 40.

James, known to fans as “Bowelbabe”, succumbed to stage IV colon cancer after a public five-year battle that inspired many and helped raise awareness and millions of dollars for cancer care in the UK.

She died Tuesday surrounded by her family, who announced the sad news on her Instagram, in a post that read: “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mom. Deborah passed away peacefully today surrounded by her family.

“Deborah, who will be known to many of you as Bowelbabe, has been an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and dedication to charitable campaigns, fundraisers and her endless efforts to raise awareness about cancer affecting so many lives touched.”

Prince William presented James with the Damehood
Prince William visited Deborah James and made her a lady.
Instagram / @bowelbabe

The post went on to note how James broke down barriers, “challenged taboos and changed the conversation about cancer.”

The mother of two is survived by her husband Sebastien and the children Eloise (12) and Hugo (14).

In early May, James wrote a heartbreaking farewell column for The Sun, announcing that she had run out of treatment options and was going to hospice at home.

Deborah James chronicled her cancer battle with humor and grace
James chronicled her battle with cancer with humor and grace.

“It’s not that I don’t have access to the latest fancy medicines – it’s not that I’m feeling down because I couldn’t get life-saving surgery – it’s just that I have an extremely difficult cancer in an extremely difficult area of ​​my heart “My body has today’s cutting-edge technology and techniques cannot heal… My body has become so emaciated that I have no choice but to surrender to the inevitable,” she wrote.

But even after her departure, she continued to make international headlines.

Columnist and radio host Deborah James opened up about her battle with colon cancer
Columnist and radio host James opened up about her battle with colon cancer.

James founded her charity, the Bowelbabe Fund, to fund clinical trials and cancer treatments. She raised over $1 million in 24 hours and had over $7 million in her coffers by the end of May – a testament to her impact on the public and the cancer community.

Then, a week later, Prince William visited her at home and made her a lady.

“Prince William actually came to our family home today!! I am deeply honored that he joined us for afternoon tea and champagne where he not only spent a great deal of time talking to all my family but also honored me with my damehood,” she wrote on her Instagram alongside a picture of her and the Duke of Cambridge.

James was diagnosed with her rare form of cancer, the B-RAF mutation, just days before Christmas 2016 – at the age of 34.

Deborah James, her husband Sebastien and children Eloise and Hugo pose with Prince William.
James, her husband Sebastien and children Eloise and Hugo pose with Prince William.
Instagram / @bowelbabe

After receiving the devastating news, she became a cancer warrior and bravely recounted her harrowing health journey with humor and grace in her regular column in the Sun.

Her obituary included her final words of wisdom — sentiments she’d shared frequently during her five-year battle with colon cancer.

“And a few last things from Deborah… ‘Find a life worth enjoying; To take risks; to love deeply; regret nothing; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poop — it could save your life.’”