Kate Middleton And Prince William Mourn The Death Of Beloved BBC Host

On June 28, 2022, Dame Deborah James died at age 40. "We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy," said a post on James' Bowelbabe Instagram account. "Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family."

In December 2016 James was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer, per The New York Times. Following her diagnosis, she left her job as a deputy head teacher and channeled her energies into raising cancer awareness and funds to support cancer treatment. James began chronicling her experiences via a blog — Bowelbabe — and later The Sun's online column, "Things Cancer Made Me Say." In 2018 James began co-hosting the BBC podcast You, Me, and The Big C, per The Times. The podcast supported Cancer Research UK by raising £6.5 million.

On May 9, 2022, James announced to her one million Instagram followers that she had transitioned from active treatment to hospice care at just 40 years old. She then asked readers to consider donating to bowelbabe.org to support Cancer Research UK. "Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos, and change the conversation around cancer," her family wrote on Instagram. James' podcast was known for its candid approach to cancer information, per BBC. Her advocacy while dealing with a terminal illness earned her royal attention and respect. Previously, Prince William and Kate Middleton wrote James a heartfelt message on Twitter when she moved to hospice care. Now they have turned to the platform to offer condolences.

Deborah James made a lasting impression on Prince William

"We are so sad to hear the heartbreaking news about Dame Deborah. Our thoughts are with her children, her family, and her loved ones," the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrote on Twitter. "Deborah was an inspirational and unfalteringly brave woman whose legacy will live on. W & C" The use of the couple's initials denoted the personal nature of the message, per People.

In May, Boris Johnson issued a press release announcing that Deborah James would be named a dame. Prince William visited James and her family at her home to bestow the honor's insignia. Following the visit, James posted on Instagram, "William was so kind and he put us all at ease. He is clearly passionate about improving oncology outcomes as the President of the Royal Marsden. It was such a special day for my whole family, making memories to last a lifetime."

The experience made a big impression on William as well. During a visit to Royal Marsden Hospital (where James received treatment), the duke remarked, "It is important to acknowledge and recognize people like Deborah who do such an awful lot to help other people in very difficult circumstances," (via The Times). William was also impressed by James' determination to have forthright discussions about cancer. "Talking openly and movingly about cancer is not as common as it should be. So many people are affected by cancer. I love Deborah, she's fantastic. Her legacy is massive."

Deborah James made a huge impact on cancer awareness

In addition to Prince William and Kate Middleton, many others shared condolences and stories of the ways that Deborah James touched their lives. "The awareness she brought to bowel cancer and the research her campaigning has funded will be her enduring legacy," tweeted Boris Johnson. "Because of her, many many lives will be saved."

James' friend chef Ryan Riley said, "She would be that voice online that wasn't as scared as they were and I think that really gave a lot of people a bit of comfort in a really difficult time" per BBC.

George Alagiah, a BBC presenter who is living with bowel cancer tweeted about James' death, saying, "She was a beacon, lighting the way for all of us #livingwithcancer. Thank you for your example."

Lauren Mahon, who is also living with cancer and co-hosted the You, Me, and The Big C podcast with James, said, "I don't even know any celebrity or Hollywood star that could have this profound impact on so many people on such a deep level," per The New York Times.

As part of James' lasting legacy, her second book, "How to Live When You Could Be Dead," will be published in the UK on August 18, 2022, per The Times. Proceeds from sales will support Bowelbabe Fund.