Zoe Ball announces mother’s death after cancer diagnosis

Zoe Ball has announced the death of her mother, Julia Peckham, a month after revealing her advanced pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

The BBC Radio 2 Breakfast presenter had previously been taking time away from her show to care for her mother, and shared that she had been moved into hospice care last week.

Early on Wednesday (24 April), Ball, 53, posted a message in tribute to Julia on social media, telling followers of her death.

“Sleep tight dear Mama,” she began her caption of a photo of Julia.

“Thank you for teaching us how to love unconditionally, to always show courage and empathy, and how, even in the darkest of days, laughter is the greatest of gifts.

“We are bereft without you but will hold so tight to each other.”

Stepping in for Ball on her breakfast show on Wednesday (24 April), Gaby Roslin also marked Ball’s mother’s death with an announcement to listeners.

“It's no secret Zoe has been off for a little while looking after her mum, Julia,” Roslin said as she opened the show.

“Very sadly, Julia lost her fight yesterday and we're all obviously sending so much love to Zoe and the whole family,” Roslin continued.

“It’s a horrible, awful time – and I know so many of you have been through this, loving a parent and a loved one, and I think the one thing I’d like to pass on is: grief has no rule. There are no rules about this at all.”

Zoe Ball and her mother Julia in 2010 (PA)
Zoe Ball and her mother Julia in 2010 (PA)

Roslin then relayed a message of support directly to Ball. “Zoe, you know I have got your back – I’ll always have your back. I love you dearly, you’re a very dear friend and all of us on the team love you and send you so much love.

“And to anybody else who is fighting the fight and being as brave as they can be, I am sending you lots of love as well.” Concluding her emotional opening, Roslin then played Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird”.

Ball’s mother, Julia, was married to TV presenter Johnny Ball. The couple divorced when Ball was two years old.

When she first announced that she was temporarily stepping away from the radio show, Ball told fans: “I’m trying to be at work on breakfast as often as I can but occasionally need to be home with my Mama. Thanks to Gaby for stepping in.”

While hosting the show on 17 April, Ball dedicated a song to the paramedics who had “gently” helped transition Julia to hospice care.