The husband of Dame Deborah James has shared details of his wife’s “incredibly peaceful” last moments in his first interview since her death.
Dame Deborah, also known by her social media handle Bowel Babe, died on 28 June at the age of 40 after a long battle with bowel cancer.
Sebastian Bowen married the former deputy headteacher in France in 2008 and the couple share two children, 14-year-old Hugo and 12-year-old Eloise.
“I kissed her on the head. I told her how much I loved her, that I would look after the kids and the last thing I said to her was that I was so proud of her,” he told The Sun.
“Then she slipped away. She had an incredibly peaceful death, if there was a way to die well, then she managed it,” he added.
“At the very end, it was quite spiritual.”
Diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, Dame Deborah subsequently kept her one million Instagram followers up to date with her treatments, posting candid videos and pictures of her progress.
Two years later, she launched the You, Me And The Big C podcast alongside Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland, where the trio candidly discussed life with cancer.
In May of this year, she revealed she had stopped active treatment and was receiving end-of-life care at her parents’ home in Woking.
In recognition of her campaigning, she was made a dame later that month, with the Duke of Cambridge joining her family for afternoon tea to confer the honour in person.
Speaking about his wife’s achievements during the final months of her life, Mr Bowen said: “I’m in total awe of Debs, I’m in awe of what she did and how she went about it.
He also revealed her “magic” and “way of finding joy in every moment” is what he misses most about his wife.
“It was the very core of what made her unique,” he said.
Despite being given days to live, Dame Deborah defied the odds, living just over seven weeks more.
“People who didn’t know Debs saw her getting weaker and weaker in those final weeks but, mentally, it was the opposite,” Mr Bowen continued.
“Through battling the fires of adversity, she got stronger and, in my eyes, it made her more and more radiant with every passing day.
“I’ve never loved her more. She knew what was happening to her, yet she was able to find those magical moments.”
Since Dame Deborah shared her end-of-life journey, charities noted a surge in people seeking bowel cancer information.
Shortly before her death, she also announced that she had completed her second book, titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, due to be published on 18 August.
Her first book, F*** You Cancer: How To Face The Big C, Live Your Life And Still Be Yourself, was published in 2018.