(SKY NEWS) – BBC news presenter Rachael Bland has died after being diagnosed with incurable cancer, her family has announced.
-A tweet posted on the Radio 5 Live broadcaster’s Twitter account said: “Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family.
“We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support.
“You’ll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie xxx”
On Monday the 40-year-old told her followers that doctors said she had just days left to live.
The mother-of-one wrote: “In the words of the legendary Frank S – I’m afraid the time has come my friends. And suddenly. I’m told I’ve only got days. It’s very surreal.
“Thank you so much for all the support I’ve received. Debs and Lozz will continue with the #youmebigc podcast.
“Au revoir my friends.”
Mrs Bland was first diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016, where it was found to have already spread to lymph nodes under her right arm.
Despite treatment including four months of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, radiotherapy and a round of immunotherapy, the cancer spread.
She told her story in an honest and humorous podcast, documenting her life from finding a lump to being told she only had days left.
You, Me And The Big C, featuring friends Deborah James and Lauren Mahon sharing their experiences of cancer, now occupies the top spot of the UK podcast chart.
Her husband Steve told the BBC: “Rachael’s death has left a huge hole in our perfect little family that we’ll never be able to fill.
“She was an incredibly talented broadcaster as well as a wonderful and much-loved daughter, sister, aunt, niece, wife and, most importantly to her, a mother to her precious little Freddie.
“We all take such huge comfort and pride from the amazing and tireless work she has done since her diagnosis to reduce the stigma around cancer and prove that it is possible to live life to the fullest even when facing huge challenges on a daily basis.
“At the end, even though her body was at its weakest, her voice was at its strongest and most powerful.
“Rachael was and will always be an incredible inspiration to everyone she met.
“To us, she was perfect in every way and we will miss her more than words can say.
“We just ask that everyone respects our family’s privacy as we try and come to terms with losing our beautiful girl.”
Mrs Bland had recently revealed that she had wrapped birthday presents for her now three-year-old son to open every year until he turns 21. She had also been working on a memoir called “For Freddie”.
BBC Radio 5 Live tweeted: “Mother to Freddie. Wife to Steve. Our treasured colleague Rachael Bland has died. She inspired so many with her blogs, the chart-topping podcast #YouMeBigC and certainly put the can in cancer.
“We will miss her dearly.”
BBC Director-General Tony Hall said: “Rachael was a popular and inspiring journalist.
“Everyone has been moved by her courage and dignity.
“She will be hugely missed by her many listeners and by staff across the BBC.
“Our sympathies go out to her family and many friends at this difficult time.”
Her friend and colleague Tony Livesey said: “5 Live’s lost one of its brightest spirits.
“I’m going into cliche territory now so she’ll be pressing an alarm somewhere, but she was beautiful inside and out.
“She was such a lovely person.
“Rachael Bland – presenter, friend to most of us, inspiration to all.
“Radio 5 Live is broadcasting with a broken heart.
“We’ve lost one of our brightest talents.”