Deborah James’ touching final message to her two children revealed

Deborah James shared some powerful life advice to her son, Hugo, and daughter, Eloise, in her final letter before she died

(Image credit: Getty)

Dame Deborah James' touching final message to her children before her death has been revealed in an extract from her upcoming book, How to Live When You Could Be Dead. 

The BBC broadcaster left her kids some heartwarming advice on relationships and life in her last-ever letter – and it's now being shared for the world to hear. 

Deborah James died on June 28 at the age of 40, five years after she'd been diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer. The podcast host made the devastating announcement in May that her illness was terminal after exhausting all available treatments, telling her 1m Instagram followers that she had lost her ability to walk and was now "sleeping most days." 

She spent much of her final weeks tirelessly campaigning for her Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK, whilst also spending quality time with her husband, Sebastian, and their two children, Hugo, 14, and twelve-year-old Eloise. She also received widespread support from members of the public and celebrities alike, with Prince William even making a surprise visit to Deborah's home in Woking to award her with her damehood. 

Deborah James

(Image credit: Getty)

As of August 2022, her Bowelbabe Fund, which was established to raise funds for clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients, has raised over £7 million. 

Deborah's legacy also lives on in her upcoming second book, How to Live When You Could Be Dead, which hits shelves on 18 August. Published by Ebury Publishing, the highly-anticipated memoir explores how the former headteacher developed a positive mindset to help her cope with the reality of living with incurable bowel cancer. It also includes Deborah's touching life advice for her two children, whom she spoke about frequently during her battle with the disease. 

Deborah James family

Deborah James' son, Hugo, husband, Sebastian, and daughter, Eloise 

(Image credit: Getty)

The inspiring activist urged Hugo and Eloise to "be brave" and to "take chances", having personally admitted to being afraid and anxious about day-to-day things before her cancer diagnosis. After advising them to "be your number one cheerleader", she told the two adolescents to do things that make them happy every day and to "never criticise others for the things that make them happy." She also told them to "marry only for love", gushing that she'd "always loved" her husband of 14 years, Sebastian. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.