Belfast Telegraph

Tears on This Morning as Simon Thomas talks about wife’s death

The former Blue Peter presenter told how quickly Gemma’s illness materialised.

Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas reduced Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield to tears as he spoke on This Morning about the death of his wife.

Thomas’s wife Gemma died in November, three days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.

Appearing on the ITV morning programme, he spoke about the moment he told his eight-year-old son Ethan that his mother had died.

This Morning

He said: “My heart was pounding. He (Ethan) went in to see her twice that day. I didn’t tell Ethan she was going.

“I just said, ‘Mummy is seriously ill’, and I held him to her ear a couple of times and he said he loved her and (then) he went to play with his cousins.

“And I got home, and I thought I’ve just got to grab him, so I took him upstairs, and I looked into his deep brown eyes and said, ‘Ethan, I’m really sorry, they couldn’t make mummy better’.

“You can’t dress it up. I just said, ‘Mummy’s died’, and he collapsed on to the floor. I collapsed with him. I just held him. I would never wish that on my worst enemy.”

During the emotional interview, the presenters were unable to hold back their tears and Schofield reached forward to grab a tissue for Willoughby.

Former Blue Peter presenter Thomas told how quickly the illness had materialised.

“She had headaches for a few weeks,” he said.

“I had been off work with anxiety and depression that literally came out of nowhere. I did say a few times to her, ‘You know, this headache has been going on for a while’.

“We ended up having a joint appointment, which was mainly about getting more medication for my depression.

“She came in with me and I said, ‘You know, she’s had this headache for ages, are you worried?’. The doctor said, ‘I think a lot of it’ – and I completely understand why he said this – ‘a lot of this is down to the fact she is stressed… about you’.”

He said that by the following Friday, “she was really quite bad” and that “for her to be in bed was unusual”.

After another visit to the doctor, with “fluey” symptoms, she spent the rest of the weekend in bed, and was admitted to hospital on the Monday.

Thomas said: “On the Monday night at the Royal Berkshire (Hospital)… I fainted. We knew it was a blood cancer of some sort, it’s a leukaemia of some sort… we thought we are probably OK, people get better from this.

“It all cartwheeled quite quickly.”

His wife was given a 50/50 chance of survival and underwent chemotherapy, but during the night, Thomas said she “became more and more confused”.

“I put her back into bed at about 4.30. That was the last time I spoke to her.”

He added: “I thought she was going to sleep but as I found out she was falling unconscious and I never had the chance to even say goodbye.”

Acute myeloid leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that affects the bone marrow.


From Belfast Telegraph