Reality TV star Jade Goody has died after losing her seven-month battle against cervical cancer.
The 27-year-old – who sprang to fame in 2002 as a housemate on Big Brother – passed away at her home in Upshire, Essex, at 3.14am on Sunday morning, her mum Jackiey Budden told reporters.
“My beautiful daughter is at peace,” she said, and also asked for the family to be left alone to grieve. “Family and friends would like privacy, at last, for this morning.”
Jackiey and her huband Jack Tweed were at Jade’s bedside when she passed away. Her body was taken from her home shortly after 8am.
Mourners had already been arriving at the house to pay their respects, within minutes of the news breaking.
Her spokesman Max Clifford, who confirmed Jade’s death to the media in the early hours of Sunday, described her as a “very very brave girl”.
Jade was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August 2008 while she was appearing on the Indian Big Brother show Bigg Boss.
She underwent a hysterectomy in an effort to save her life but was told in February this year that the disease had spread to her bowel,liver and groin, and that she had just months to live.
Jade’s illness had been heavily featured in the media since she was told it was terminal – and much of her time was spent making sure her sons, five-year-old Bobby and four-year-old Freddy, would have a secure future.
She married her long-term partner Jack Tweed on February 21 in a lavish ceremony which took just a week to arrange.
OK! Magazine paid her a reported £700,000 to cover the event, which she has left to Bobby and Freddy.
She and her sons were also christened on March 7 in a short ceremony at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.
Jade was hoping to have the ceremony at a church near her home but by that point was too sick to leave the hospital. She attended the 20-minute service in a wheelchair and was assisted by nurses throughout.
Despite her condition however, doctors allowed her to return to her Essex home to die, where she was cared for by a team of Macmillan nurses.
In her final weeks she also sought to raise awareness of cervical cancer and encourage more young women to go for smear tests to avoid her fate.
Clifford said Jade had planned her funeral before she died and wanted it to be a “celebration” of her life.
“It will be a very Jade Goody event,” he said, “exactly the way she wanted it.”
Born in Bermondsey, South London, Jade had a difficult upbringing, with a mother who had been injured in a motorbike accident and father who spent time in prison.
She appeared on the 2002 series of Big Brother and became an object of derision initially for her lack of general knowledge, asking such questions as “Is East Angular abroad?”
However she eventually won viewers over, and although she did not win the final went on to become one of the biggest stars the show has ever produced.
She lived her life post-Big Brother in the public eye, having two children with her boyfriend Jeff Brazier and appearing in a string of other shows, including the Living TV series which bore her name. That show continued through her illness, showing footage of her wedding last week which attracted over a million viewers.
She also launched her own perfume, wrote her autobiography, and made an ill-fated attempt to run the London Marathon in 2006 – which ended in her collapsing and requiring hospital treatment.
Jade returned to Big Brother in 2007 as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother along with Jackiey and her then boyfriend Jack Tweed.
However she hit the headlines once again after her alleged racist bullying of fellow housemate Shilpa Shetty, which received 45,000 complaints from viewers. Jade was subsequently vilified by the press and for a while it looked as though her successful post-Big Brother career could be over.
However the pair eventually became friends and it was Shetty who invited her to appear on Bigg Boss – where she learned of her cancer diagnosis.