Celebrities have taken to social media to pay tribute to Dame Deborah James after the activist died of colon cancer at the age of 40.
James’ death was announced by her family on Tuesday 28 June, who said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mom. Deborah passed away peacefully today surrounded by her family.
“Deborah, who many of you know 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 of the cancer that has touched so many lives .
“Deborah shared her experiences with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and transform the conversation about cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspirational.
“Thank you for giving us time as a family and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy through the @bowelbabefund well into the future.”
“Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all amazing.
“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.” x”
Ahead of her death, James was granted a female dignity on Thursday May 12 after raising over £4million for Cancer Research UK through her BowelBabe Fund in less than a week.
At the time, James said she was “honored and overwhelmed” by the damehood.
“I don’t even know where to begin with the overwhelming tears standing in my way. I’m humbled and blown away that five years of talking about poo can turn into a woman!” she wrote.
In a statement on James’ maternity on Thursday May 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If ever an honor was well deserved, this is it. Deborah was an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage were a source of strength to so many people.”
The story goes on
Since her diagnosis, the teacher-turned-activist has started a podcast, written a column for The Sun and authored two books about the disease.
Following James’ death, celebrities were quick to pay tribute to the journalist, who was first diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2016.
Lorraine Kelly posted a moving tribute to her “dear friend” Deborah James in the hours after James’ death.
“We will remember Dame Deborah as a dear friend of the Lorraine show and the heart and soul of our No Butts colon cancer campaign. She leaves a lasting legacy and has saved countless lives through all the work she has done to break the ‘poop taboo,'” the Instagram post reads.
TV presenter Susanna Reid commented on the post from James’ family.
She wrote, “Sending all my love to your family — what an incredible woman.”
Labor Party leader Keir Starmer tweeted: “Deeply sad news. Dame Deborah James’ charity work has been truly inspirational – even in the most difficult of moments, she continues to raise awareness of colon cancer and impact the lives of so many.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”
TV personality Katie Piper also commented on James’ family’s post.
She wrote: “You will never be forgotten Deborah. All your hard work, campaigning and contagious spirit live on.”
Piers Morgan said: “RIP Dame Deborah James, aka Bowel Babe. A truly remarkable and inspiring woman. Such sad news.”
victory of grace
Influencer Grace Victory wrote: “Dame Deborah James, your legacy will live on. Sleep calmly.”
The Prime Minister said he was “sad” to hear of James’ death.
He tweeted: “I am terribly sad to hear that Dame Deborah James has passed away. What an inspiration she has been to so many.
“The awareness she raised for colon cancer and the research that funded her campaign will be her enduring legacy.
“Because of her, many, many lives will be saved.”
Bake Off star Candice Brown wrote under the post on James’ Instagram page: “Fly up angel you will always be remembered.”