Zoe Ball announces mum's death after cancer diagnosis

Zoe Ball with her mother, Julia Peckham, arriving at The Dorchester Hotel, London in August 2011
BBC Radio 2's Zoe Ball says she is "bereft" after her mother's death [Shutterstock]

BBC presenter Zoe Ball has announced the death of her mother, Julia Peckham, following her cancer diagnosis.

The Radio 2 breakfast show host made the announcement on X, formerly Twitter, early on Wednesday with the message, "Sleep tight dear Mama".

Ball has been taking time off since March after revealing the "heart-breaking" diagnosis.

"We are bereft without you but will hold so tight to each other," Ball said in tribute on Wednesday.

Her post also read: "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."

The news comes just days after the DJ shared that her mother had been moved to a hospice as her condition further deteriorated.

Just hours after Ball's announcement, Gaby Roslin who was covering her Wednesday breakfast show, told listeners the news.

She went on to send "so much love to Zoe and the whole family", adding: "It's a horrible, awful time and I know so many of you have been through this time, losing a parent, losing a loved one."

Speaking directly to Ball, the 59-year-old added: "Zoe, you know I've got your back, I'll always have your back. I love you dearly, you're a very dear friend and everyone here on the team loves you and sends you so much love.

"And to anybody else that is fighting the fight and being as brave as they possibly can be, I am sending you lots of love as well."

She then played Fleetwood Mac's 1977 song Songbird, adding: "The perfect song there, for our beautiful Zoe. Sending all of her family lots and lots of love."

Ball had previously spoken of forming a close relationship with her mother, after 14 years of estrangement.

Ball was just two years old when her parents divorced, and she was raised by her dad, the children's TV presenter Johnny Ball, and her step-mother Di.

From the age of five until her late teens, she did not see her mother.

"Dad was always really cool about me seeing mum if I wanted to," she once said in an interview.

"But although she sent birthday cards and presents, I never responded."

They eventually reconciled after Ball received an invitation to her mother's 40th birthday party. She agreed to attend, but almost backed out at the last moment.

"I could hardly breathe," she told the Mirror in 1997. "My heart started pounding like mad. I suddenly panicked: 'What if we hate each other?'"

But when her mother answered the door, her fears melted away.

"Mum hadn't changed a bit, except she didn't seem quite so tall," Ball remembered. "We spent such a lovely first day together... lots of crying and girlie emotion."

Ball's son Woody Cook, who she shares with ex-husband Norman Cook, better known as DJ Fatboy Slim, also took to Instagram to share a tribute.

"Today I say goodbye to Granny J, thank you for being a wonderful woman," the 23-year-old said, sharing a younger picture with his grandmother.