... she faced her death in the way she faced her whole life — full on, with a lot of courage
British reality television star Jade Goody died in her sleep early on March 22 aged just 27, her publicist said, after a very public battle with cervical cancer.
Goody died at her home in Upshire, Essex, southeast England, at 0314 GMT on Britain’s Mother’s Day, with husband Jack Tweed and mother Jackiey Budden by her side. A family friend, Kevin Adams, was also there.
“I think she’s going to be remembered as a young girl who has, and who will, save an awful lot of lives,” her publicist Max Clifford said, referring to how her public battle with cancer has raised awareness of the disease.
“She was a very, very brave girl,” he said. “And she faced her death in the way she faced her whole life — full on, with a lot of courage.”
He said it was “ironic” that the 27-year-old — who had two young sons Bobby, five, and Freddie, four — had died on Mother’s Day.
He said he hoped Goody’s family would be left in peace to grieve.
Goody’s mother Jackiey Budden said, “My beautiful daughter is at peace.”
The ex-dental nurse from south London found fame on the Big Brother reality television show in 2002. She sparked uproar when she taunted Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on British TV’s Celebrity Big Brother in 2007, calling her “Shilpa Poppadom” but the two patched things up, and the Briton later appeared on India’s version of the programme.
It was on the Indian programme, which Shetty hosted, that Goody found out she was suffering from cancer.
Her fight with cancer has won the hearts of the British public. She has allowed magazines to cover her marriage in return for money she said will secure the future of her two sons.
Goody’s decision to live out her final weeks in the public eye prompted many commentators uncomfortable with the coverage to raise questions about the ethics of reality television. But she won the hearts of many Britons — and was responsible for a huge jump in the number of young women taking tests for cervical cancer.
Goody married Tweed — a 21-year-old aspiring footballers’ agent who was jailed last year for attacking a teenager with a golf club — on February 22. Media rights for the lavish
ceremony were reportedly sold for £1 million ($1.4 million).
Goody plus sons Bobby, five, and Freddy, four — who she had with her ex-boyfriend, television presenter Jeff Brazier — were christened on March 7, another event captured by a magazine.
The christening was one of her final requests and Clifford said she wanted to do it so her sons “know about Jesus and hopefully in the years ahead they’ll be able to keep in touch with (her) through Jesus”.
On Tuesday, her publishers also revealed she would be publishing a diary of her dying days. A percentage of the profits will go towards a cancer charity.
Goody always said she was seeking publicity not for herself, but as a way to make her sons financially secure when she was gone.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown called her case a “tragedy” and the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, said she wanted the last weeks of her life to teach people something.
Her case reportedly led to a 20 per cent rise in the number of young women taking smear tests which can detect cervical cancer.
Robert Music, director of cervical cancer charity Jo’s Trust, told British media he had “never seen anything like it”.
“The Jade effect has been nothing short of phenomenal,” he added. “Quite simply, Jade Goody will end up saving lives.”
Goody’s body was taken out of her home shortly before 0800 GMT as mourners started leaving floral tributes at the gates of her home.
Speaking outside the house, her mother said, “Family and friends would like privacy at last.”