Deborah James’ mum has said her heart is “broken” following the death of her daughter, aged 40.

Heather James shared a series of photos of her daughter as news of her death was announced with the caption: "My heart is broken. Love you forever."

Dame Deborah leaves a “tremendous legacy” for her tireless campaigning and the spotlight she shone in raising awareness for bowel cancer.

Podcast host and mother of two Dame Deborah, who became known as Bowelbabe, her social media handle, died on Tuesday after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and has been remembered by charities, celebrities and many whose lives have been affected by cancer.

BBC TV presenter George Alagiah, who was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in 2014, said Dame Deborah was “a beacon, lighting the way for us all of us #livingwithcancer”.

In her final weeks, Dame Deborah – a presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C – raised almost £7 million for research and was made a dame for her “tireless” work improving awareness of the disease.

Her damehood was conferred by the the Duke of Cambridge, who joined her family for afternoon tea and champagne at home in a surprise visit.

Deborah James’ family issue statement following her death

The full statement from Deborah’s family 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.

“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.

“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.

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.’”