Prince William and Kate share heartbreak following Bowelbabe campaigner Deborah James' death

The Duke of Cambridge personally presented Deborah with her Damehood on 13 May

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have expressed their sorrow following the death of Bowelbabe campaigner Dame Deborah James.

READ: Why Prince William was the chosen royal to present Deborah James with her Damehood

William and Kate's statement was shared on their social media channels and read: "We are so sad to hear the heartbreaking news about Dame Deborah. Our thoughts are with her children, her family and her loved ones. Deborah was an inspirational and unfalteringly brave woman whose legacy will live on. W & C."

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WATCH: Deborah James shows off her supermarket workout

Dame Deborah sadly passed away aged 40 on Tuesday, with her family confirming the news in a statement that read: "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," the post read.

MORE: Bowel cancer symptoms explained after the sad loss of Deborah James

READ: Prince William pleads with the Queen to issue special honour

"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."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Deborah James (@bowelbabe)

Deborah James passed away on Tuesday

"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," it continued, alongside a picture of Deborah in a white dress posing in front of a gorgeous sunset.

"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.' (Shared with Deborah’s permission)."

Her death comes shortly after William personally presented Deborah with her Damehood on 13 May after it was revealed he was the driving force behind her receiving the gong. He joined Deborah and her family for afternoon tea in her garden.

At the time, the author and You, Me And The Big C podcaster wrote on Instagram: "Prince William actually came to our family house today!! I am utterly honoured that he joined us for afternoon tea and champagne, where he not only spent a generous amount of time talking to my whole family but also honoured me with my Damehood.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Deborah James (@bowelbabe)

Prince William personally presented Deborah with her Damehood at home

"It's quite surreal having a royal pop in at home, and yes you can imagine the cleaning antics and preparation went off the scale - but it was all irrelevant because William was so kind and he put us all at ease."

Just days before, Dame Deborah announced that she was receiving end-of-life care for her bowel cancer and did not know "how long" she had left. William and Kate reacted to her heartbreaking announcement by tweeting: "Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society. @bowelbabe is one of those special people.

"Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends. Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer."

Dame Deborah was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2016 and kept her followers up to date with her treatments in candid posts about her progress and diagnosis. She also raised more than £6.2 million with her Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK. It's understood William and Kate made an anonymous donation to her fund.

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