BBC presenter Rachael Bland dies at 40 after cancer battle

·Data and Politics News Editor, Yahoo News UK
Rachael Bland has died age 40 (Rex)
Rachael Bland has died age 40 (Rex)

Rachael Bland has died at the age of 40, two years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Radio 5 Live host won praise for her depiction of her illness in her podcast ‘You, Me and the Big C’ and on her award-winning blog.

Her family revealed that she died at home in the early hours of this morning.

Rachael’s husband Steve said in a statement: “She was an incredibly talented broadcaster as well as a wonderful and much loved daughter, sister, aunt, niece, wife and, most importantly to her, a mother to her precious little Freddie.

“We all take such huge comfort and pride from the amazing and tireless work she has done since her diagnosis to reduce the stigma around cancer and prove that it is possible to live life to the fullest even when facing huge challenges on a daily basis.

“At the end, even though her body was at its weakest, her voice was at its strongest and most powerful.”

Rachael revealed earlier this week that she only had a few days left to live.

She said on Twitter: ‘In the words of the legendary Frank S – I’m afraid the time has come my friends. And suddenly. I’m told I’ve only got days.

‘It’s very surreal. Thank you so much for all the support I’ve received. Debs and lozz will continue with the #youmebigc podcast. Au revoir my friends.’

BBC 5 Live paid tribute to ‘treasured colleague’ Rachael in a tweet.

The station broadcast a special tribute to Rachael, playing clips from her podcast along with interviews with her family and friends.

Messages of support poured in from listeners and BBC colleagues, praising Rachael’s warmth and bravery.

Rachael Bland has died at the age of 40 (PA Images)
Rachael Bland has died at the age of 40 (PA Images)

Controller of Radio 5 Live, Jonathan Wall, said: “Rachael was part of the fabric of 5 Live and today is a very sad day for all of us and so many of our listeners.

“She was a very talented broadcaster and a beautiful loyal colleague to so many. More than that, she turned the final year of her life into the finest year of her life delivering the most important broadcasting I have ever heard about living with cancer, and ultimately facing death because of cancer. She has made a profound difference to so many lives.

“We are all so proud at what she achieved – a truly heroic broadcaster and lovely wife, daughter and mum.”

Her friend and colleague Tony Livesey said: “5 Live’s lost one of its brightest spirits. I’m going into cliche territory now so she’ll be pressing an alarm somewhere, but she was beautiful inside and out. She was such a lovely person.

“Rachael Bland – presenter, friend to most of us, inspiration to all. Radio 5 Live is broadcasting with a broken heart. We’ve lost one of our brightest talents.”