The family of Rachael Bland have confirmed that she died this morning, shortly after 3am. Rachael died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family.
Her husband, Steve, paid tribute: “Rachael’s death has left a huge hole in our perfect little family that we’ll never be able to fill.
“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 was and will always be an incredible inspiration to everyone she met. To us, she was perfect in every way and we will miss her more than words can say.
“We just ask that everyone respects our family’s privacy as we try and come to terms with losing our beautiful girl.”
Jonathan Wall, Controller of BBC Radio 5 live, 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.”
Tony Livesey, Rachael’s colleague and friend, said: “5 live’s lost one of its brightest spirits. I’m going into cliché 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.”
BBC Director-General Tony Hall said: “Rachael was a popular and inspiring journalist. Everyone has been moved by her courage and dignity. She will be hugely missed by her many listeners and by staff across the BBC. Our sympathies go out to her family and many friends at this difficult time.”
Biography of Rachael Bland
Rachael Bland, 40, joined the BBC in 2001. Rachael began her BBC career at Radio Wiltshire, working as a journalist and newsreader. She soon joined BBC Radio 5 live, where she became a familiar voice to listeners of Richard Bacon’s popular late-night programme. She stayed on the late-night shift when Tony Livesey took over the programme. She also began presenting on the BBC News Channel.
When the BBC moved to Salford in 2011, Rachael was the first voice to be heard on BBC Radio 5 live’s first broadcast from its new studios. She also started working as a presenter on the station and presented North West Tonight on BBC One.
Following her cancer diagnosis in 2016, Rachael wrote about her treatment on her blog Big C, Little Me. She also appeared regularly on 5 live Daily with Emma Barnett to tell listeners about her illness.
Last year, Rachael was reunited with Tony Livesey when she began presenting 5 live Drive on Fridays.
Also in 2017, Rachael co-created and co-presented the ground-breaking podcast You, Me and The Big C, which has gone on to be an iTunes chart topper. In the podcast, Rachael and two friends and fellow bloggers talk openly and frankly on a range of subjects related to their experiences of cancer, receiving many messages of support and thanks from listeners who have found You, Me and The Big C to be a comfort and support.
Originally from near Cardiff, Rachael lived in Cheshire with her husband Steve (a former BBC radio producer) and their son Freddie.