TV presenter Simon Thomas has shared his devastation after wife Gemma died from leukaemia just three days after being diagnosed.
The 44-year-old former Blue Peter star, who now works for Sky Sports, announced the tragic news via Twitter on Saturday morning.
They are parents to young son Ethan, who is just eight.
Simon told fans: “Today I am crushed with indescribable pain. Just three days after falling ill with Acute Myloid Leukaemia, my dear wife Gemma passed away yesterday evening surrounded by her family and friends.”
Simon added: “If you are a prayer – pray for my boy Ethan. 8yrs, precious and in bits. Thank you.”
In an interview with The Mirror, he said Gemma, 40, was diagnosed with leukaemia after he took her to hospital on Monday, following three separate trips to the GP.
He said: “She felt very unwell last weekend and we took her to the doctor’s three times, but three times they didn’t seem concerned.”
Simon then took Gemma to Royal Berkshire Hospital on Monday, where she was diagnosed with blood cancer following a series of tests.
She was transferred to a specialist hospital in Oxford and began chemotherapy on Tuesday night. Although she initially appeared to be responding well, her condition soon took a turn for the worse.
“My little boy had a little time with her but she wasn’t able to speak to him,” said Simon.
“She passed away just before 6pm last night,” he added.
“There was a real sense of peace. Today is the hardest pain I have ever felt ever.”
Simon was inundated with well wishes and condolences from fans and football clubs, including his club, Norwich City, who wrote: “Simon, the thoughts of everybody at Norwich City are with yourself, Ethan and everyone else who knew and loved Gemma at this sad time.”
Actor James Sutton said: “You poor poor man. Everyone reading your tweet is heartbroken with you. All the love to you and your Ethan. X.”
Match of the Day commentator Steve Wilson wrote: “Simon, I can only send you and Ethan my heartfelt sympathy. I’m not one to pray, but I know you will somehow find some strength from somewhere.”
Heart Radio presenter Simon Beale said: “Praying for you Simon and your son, and so so sorry to hear your news. I’ll really pray you’ll know God’s peace and comfort at this difficult time.”
Countdown’s Rachel Riley added: “Oh Simon. Sending all my love to you and your family. Deepest deepest sympathies.”
A Sky Sports spokesman said: “We are shocked and devastated to hear Simon’s news. All our thoughts are with him and his family during this terribly sad time.”
Hundreds of Sky Sports and Blue Peter viewers also reached out, saying although they didn’t know Simon personally, they felt as if they did from watching him on screen.
One said: “Don’t know you at all but send you many times on Sky. Thoughts and prayers with you and your boy, brought tears to my eyes reading that. Be strong for Ethan. Football seems so insignificant when reading this. Devastating.”
Simon took over from Richard Bacon on Blue Peter back in 1999 and stayed with the kids’ TV show until 2005.
He then moved to Sky Sports, where he’s a familiar face to football fans.