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podcast presenter Dame  was surrounded by her close family as she passed away at the age of 40 following her five-year battle with bowel cancer yesterday. 
The former deputy head teacher turned cancer campaigner, from west , was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2016, and was told early on that she might not live beyond five years - a milestone that passed in the autumn of 2021.
Sharing the news of her death to Instagram last night, her loved ones wrote: '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, parent to Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, with her husband Sebastien, had been spending the last few weeks at her parents home in Woking, where she passed away.  
She was joined by her mother Heather and her father Alistair, as well as her brother Ben, who recently announced his engagement to his long-term girlfriend Ashley Hall, and her sister Sarah.
Deborah said she has written letters for her children to help them with their first dates and wedding days, and planned to buy Hugo 'a nice pen or wallet or cufflinks' and Eloise 'Tiffany bracelets and earrings' to remember her - as well as some presents and postcards from her for the future.
And her funeral is also planned where she will be cremated, but she said she hoped her ashes will be kept in the family kitchen 'for a while' before being scattered. 
Here FEMAIL reveals the devastated relatives Deborah has left behind...
BBC podcast presenter Dame Deborah James was surrounded by her close family, including her husband Sebastien, as she passed away at the age of 40 following her five-year battle with bowel cancer yesterday (pictured together) 
In March, the cancer campaigner was allowed out of hospital on day release to spend her final Mother's Day with her family (pictured left to right, Deborah James, her mother Heather James, father Alistair, her unnamed niece, husband Sebastien sister Sarah, a second unnamed niece, her Big Brother kS-in-law, her brother's girlfriend Ashley, her son Hugo and her brother Ben).

The tight-knit group are believed to have been by Deborah's side when she died 
The mother-of-two had often spoken of her sadness that she wouldn't see her children Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, growing up (pictured together) 
Meanwhile her parents Heather (left) and Alistair (right) offered endless support to their daughter throughout her cancer battle, even opening their Woking bungalow to her to receive end-of-life care 

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The loyal husband who's been Deborah James's 'backbone': Banker Sebastien Bowen danced BBC podcaster 'back into the light' in her darkness moments - after cancelling their divorce weeks before her cancer diagnosis 
He was the man she called her 'rock', her 'blanket' and her 'very backbone' after cancer made realise how 'special' the connection she shared with her banker husband Sebastien was. 
But if things had worked out differently, the podcaster, 40, would have faced her five-year cancer battle as a single woman.  
The pair, who married in July 2008, and shared son Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, were in the midst of divorce proceedings in 2016, before rekindling their relationship a month before Deborah's diagnosis of incurable bowel cancer.
But the 'bowel babe' urged her City banker husband, 42, to find love after her death, with the caveat: 'Don't be taken for a ride, don't marry a bimbo'. 
Sebastien will now face raising their two children alone, while balancing his career as a banker. 
Deborah James (left) is pictured on her July 2008 wedding day to banker Sebastien Bowen
The pair, who married in July 2008, and shared son Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, and were set to split in 2016 before rekindling their romance shortly before Deborah's diagnosis of bowel cancer.  They are pictured on their anniversary in 2009
Before her diagnosis, Deborah was an ambitious deputy head teacher who'd been brought in to turn around a failing comprehensive in Surrey. 
It meant she and Sebastien, were always stressed and barely saw each other.

'It was a classic case of our marriage coming last,' she told the Daily Mail in 2020.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox halfRHS femail" data-version="2" id="mol-da8e9b20-f786-11ec-9b99-0b7bc57ac9aa" website devastated family Dame Deborah has left behind