"We are so sad to hear the heartbreaking news about Dame Deborah," the couple's tweet read. "Our thoughts are with her children, her family and her loved ones."
William and Kate added, "Deborah was an inspirational and unfalteringly brave woman whose legacy will live on."
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
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) June 29, 2022
James' family announced the sad news of her passing via Instagram on Tuesday. "We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy," the statement began. "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 family continued, referring to her Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK, which raises "money to fund clinical trials and research into personalized medicine for cancer patients and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer."
The statement went on to praise James for sharing her "experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer," noting that "even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring."
The family concluded their post with a message James wished to share with her followers. "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,'" they wrote.
James was first diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and in 2020, she revealed that she was entering hospice care. "With my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them,” she wrote at the time, noting that "nobody" knew how much longer she had left to live.
In May, Prince William paid a visit to James for "tea and champagne" and to talk oncology health.
"He not only spent a generous amount of time talking to my whole family but also honoured me with my Damehood. 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," James wrote alongside a series of happy photos from the royal's visit. "He is clearly passionate about improving oncology outcomes as the President of the Royal Marsden. It was such a special day for my whole family, making memories to last a life time. He’s welcome back any time!"