BBC newsreader Rachael Bland has tragically died after she was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.
The 40-year-old journalist – who produced the series You, Me and the Big C about her experience as a patient – passed away in the early hours of this morning, with her family by her side.
Sharing the tragic news on Rachael’s Twitter, husband Steve revealed in a statement that he’s ‘heartbroken’ but ‘comforted by the impact she’s had’.
“Our brave, beautiful, wonderful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family”, he wrote.
“We are all heartbroken and the hole she leaves in our perfect little family will never be filled.”
He added, “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.”
And Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid was one of the first to share a tribute to the much-loved star, writing on Twitter, “And suddenly everything else gets put into perspective…”
Olympic athlete Kelly Holmes has also spoken out, adding, “It feels strange to be pressing like on something so sad. Rachael has done more for awareness then anyone and for that people are truly grateful. My heart and love goes out to all of your family so sorry”.
Presenter Simon Thomas said on social media, “Rest in Peace. Thoughts with the family.”
While BBC presenter Dan Walker penned the emotional message, “It’s incredibly sad but I find @Rachael_Hodges so inspiring. Diagnosed with cancer but she convinces @bbc5liveto make the #YouMeBigCpodcast and, almost singlehandedly, changes the conversation and has a positive impact on the lives of thousands of people she’ll never meet.”
Mum-of-one Rachael was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in November 2016 and in April she found out that the disease was incurable.
Throughout her battle the radio star continued to podcast using the tagline “Putting the CAN in cancer” along with fellow cancer sufferers Lauren Mahon and Deborah James.
But despite keeping a positive outlook, she recently opened up about the thought of leaving her three-year-old son Freddie.
“I’m not scared of dying,” she wrote in The Daily Telegraph in August. “I only fear for those I leave behind. For my darling Freddie… for Steve and our families.”
She added, “Steve and I don’t discuss how he’ll cope without me, but we do talk about all the things I want him to do with Freddie when I’m gone.
“He’s quite an emotional man, so I know he’ll do a lot of crying. But he is also the most amazing father and will keep going and stay strong for our son’s sake.”