Prince William and Kate Middleton 'heartbroken' by tragic loss

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Prince William and Kate Middleton have shared their heartbreak following the tragic loss of cancer fundraiser Dame Deborah James.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge described Deborah as an "inspirational and unfalteringly brave woman" following her death at just 40.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Prince William and Kate Middleton have shared their heartbreak following the tragic loss of cancer fundraiser Dame Deborah James. Photo: Getty

Deborah, who was known as BowelBabe on social media, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and beat the eight per cent chance of her living five more years.

Taking to Twitter, the couple wrote, "We are so sad to hear the heartbreaking news about Dame Deborah.

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"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."

Deborah received a Damehood earlier this year after capturing hearts with her honest depiction of living with cancer.

William travelled to her parents' home, where Deborah was living at the time, and presented her with the award.

Dame Deborah James and Prince William
Deborah receiving her Damehood from Prince William at her parents' house. Photo: Graham Prentice via Instagram/BowelBabe

He spoke of their meeting, saying it felt like a "very personal family moment".

Her heartbroken family revealed Deborah passed away surrounded by her loved ones.

"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," they wrote on Instagram.

"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."

They continued, "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.

Dame Deborah James
Her heartbroken family revealed Deborah passed away surrounded by her loved ones. Photo: Instagram/BowelBabe

"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."

They also included a message from Deborah herself, that read, "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."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared that he was "terribly saddened" by Deborah's passing, writing, "What an inspiration she was to so many. The awareness she brought to bowel cancer and the research her campaigning has funded will be her enduring legacy. Because of her, many many lives will be saved."

Piers Morgan also described Deborah's passing as "such sad news", adding that she was "a truly remarkable and inspiring woman".

Deborah raised almost $12 million after learning she would be receiving end-of-life hospice care.

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