BBC presenter Rachael Bland dies, aged 40

BBC presenter Rachael Bland has passed away at the age of 40 after a two-year battle with breast cancer.

Her family confirmed the sad news on social media this morning (September 5), revealing the Radio 5 live presenter died "peacefully".

"Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family," they wrote on her Twitter account.

"We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You'll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie xxx."

As well as her work on the BBC, Bland had won praise for hosting a podcast about cancer called You, Me and the Big C alongside Deborah James and Lauren Mahon.

Her husband Steve said in a statement ( BBC News): "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."

He also called her "perfect in every way", saying "we will miss her more than words can say".

Bland announced earlier this week that she had only days to live, writing in her final post: "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."

Bland revealed this week how she wants her son to remember her, writing in a blog: "If I were to release all my feelings about leaving my precious, beautiful Freddie behind, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest of my time on this earth.

"So I tuck them away, graciously accept every little hug, squeeze, cuddle and utterance of 'I love you so much, mummy' and try not to let him see it break my heart."

She also said she was "planning and wrapping birthday presents which he can open between the ages of 4 and 21".