Rachael Bland, the blogger and host of the hit podcast You, Me and the Big C, has passed away.
Bland was 40, and had been battling primary triple-negative breast cancer for years, as she chronicled on her website Big C Little Me.
She was also a presenter for BBC Radio 5 Live, and previously hosted for the BBC News Channel, BBC World, and BBC North West Tonight.
Our brave, beautiful, wonderful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family. We are all heartbroken and the hole she leaves in our perfect little family will never be filled. To everyone who took an interest in her story over the last two years, downloaded the awe-inspiring You, Me and the Big C podcast or sent her messages of support, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You’ll never know how much those messages meant to her and us. 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
In a statement, Bland's husband, Steve, said that she died peacefully in her sleep Wednesday morning, with her family closeby.
"She was an incredibly talented broadcaster," he wrote in a statement, "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."
Bland gained viral fame after writing a book of "love letters" to her two-year-old son, so he could remember her after she died.
But fans of Bland's podcast also say she changed the public conversation about cancer, with helpful advice and her "Put the CAN in cancer" attitude.
"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," Steve wrote.
"At the end, even though her body was at its weakest, her voice was at its strongest and most powerful."
"We will miss her more than words can say."
After being diagnosed in 2016, Bland continued to work as a presenter while sharing her cancer journey with the public.
She recorded her experiences with chemotherapy treatments and a mastectomy, while offering advice to other women in the same situation.
"It's been a real support to know that people have found them so helpful through their treatment, but in a selfish way they've helped me just as much," Bland wrote in her final blog post on Tuesday.
After receiving a terminal diagnosis earlier this year, Bland began writing an autobiography dedicated to her son, as a way to share her life with him after she passes away.
"It’s a collection of all those stories your parents tell you over the years from their point of view, mixed in with all the advice they give you," she explained.
"I’d only known Steve for such a short period of time before we married – I feel there’s so much he needs to know from my point of view and in my voice. And I think I best get my personality down on paper."
In her last post, Bland wrote that the book was nearly finished, and that she was still looking for a publisher.
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. 💋💋 pic.twitter.com/DhMurbqMJz— Rachael Bland (@Rachael_Hodges) September 3, 2018
On Tuesday, after being told she had just days to live, Bland told fans about the "very surreal" experience on Twitter.
"In the words of the legendary Frank [Sinatra] - I'm afraid the time has come my friends."
Bland wrote that her You, Me and the Big C cohosts, Lauren Mahon and Deborah James, would carry on the show after she passes away.
"While totally heartbroken, I am immensely proud of everything that Rachael has achieved and I am so blessed to have been part of that," said James.
"She has been the most incredible support in my darkest times, she was who I went to at 3 a.m. in the morning. And she's the person I want to call now to cry down the phone to. It doesn't feel real."
She added that "today I hate cancer more than ever, but I want to shout louder than ever to make sure the incredible conversation she started carries on."
Mother to Freddie.— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) September 5, 2018
Wife to Steve.
Our treasured colleague Rachael Bland has died.
She inspired so many with her blogs, the chart-topping podcast #YouMeBigC and certainly put the can in cancer.
We will miss her dearly. pic.twitter.com/b0UKRwDDCY
The BBC Radio 5 Live Twitter account remembered Bland as a "treasured colleague."
"She inspired so many with her blogs, the chart-topping podcast #YouMeBigC and certainly put the can in cancer. We will miss her dearly."