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A newsreader, who made headlines around the world when she revealed she had just days to live, has died after a two-year battle with breast cancer.
Rachel Bland, a host for Radio 5 Live, had won praise for her depiction of her illness in her podcast ‘You, Me and the Big C’ and on her award-winning blog.
Surrounded by her family, the 40-year-old mother passed away in her home in the early hours of Wednesday morning (local time).
“Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family,” her husband wrote in an Instagram post to Rachel’s fans.
“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.”
Our brave, beautiful, wonderful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family. We are all heartbroken and the hole she leaves in our perfect little family will never be filled. To everyone who took an interest in her story over the last two years, downloaded the awe-inspiring You, Me and the Big C podcast or sent her messages of support, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You’ll never know how much those messages meant to her and us. We’ll miss her so very much but we couldn’t be prouder of what she achieved in her 40 years, and we are genuinely comforted by the impact we know she had on so many lives. Thank you. Steve and Freddie xxx
A post shared by Rachael Bland (@bigclittleme) on Sep 5, 2018 at 2:58am PDT
On September 3, the 40-year-old mother took to Twitter to share the news with her fans that her time was coming to an end.
“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,” she wrote.
“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.”
Her husband described her as a talented broadcaster, a wonderful and much loved daughter, sister, aunt, niece and wife and most importantly “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,” he wrote.
“At the end, even though her body was at its weakest, her voice was at its strongest and most powerful.”
BBC 5 Live paid tribute to “treasured colleague” Rachael in a moving tweet.
The station broadcast a special tribute to Rachael, playing clips from her podcast along with interviews with her family and friends.
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. pic.twitter.com/b0UKRwDDCY
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) September 5, 2018
Messages of support poured in from listeners and BBC colleagues, praising Rachael’s warmth and bravery.
“Rachael was part of the fabric of 5 Live and today is a very sad day for all of us and so many of our listeners,” Controller of Radio 5 Live, Jonathan Wall, said.
“She was a very talented broadcaster and a beautiful loyal colleague to so many. More than that, she turned the final year of her life into the finest year of her life delivering the most important broadcasting I have ever heard about living with cancer, and ultimately facing death because of cancer. She has made a profound difference to so many lives.
“We are all so proud at what she achieved – a truly heroic broadcaster and lovely wife, daughter and mum.”