Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid led the ITV programme’s tributes to Dame Deborah James on Wednesday’s show following the devastating news of her death.
Dame Deborah died surrounded by her family on Tuesday just weeks after she revealed she had stopped active treatment for bowel cancer and was receiving end-of-life care at her parents’ home in Woking.
Celebrities have shown the You Me And The Big C podcaster an outpouring of love, with the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Adele Roberts, who was recently given the all-clear following her battle with disease, said that her ‘heart hurts’.
Susanna opened the show by describing the late Dame Deborah as ‘absolutely remarkable’.
‘Even if you’d never met her, I think everyone felt like they knew Dame Deborah James, who has sadly passed away way too early at the age of 40,’ she said. ‘A five-year battle, of course, with cancer.
‘She was an absolutely remarkable woman, who fought right to the end to raise awareness of the condition.’
‘Our hearts go out to her children… and her husband Sebastian, and her parents,’ Susanna continued.
Dr Hilary Jones said Dame Deborah had a ‘zest for life’ as he paid tribute to his friend.
‘She was determined not to let this cancer destroy her,’ he said.
‘She was always putting other people before herself, family first, but also she wanted to campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms to make it clear to people that this wasn’t just a disease for older people.’
In her final weeks, Dame Deborah raised millions of pounds for research and was made a dame for her ‘tireless’ work improving awareness of the disease.
A statement posted by her family on Instagram said: ‘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.’
The statement continued: ‘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.”’
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.