Presenter Simon Thomas shares heartbreak of family death a year after wife’s passing

Sky presenter Simon Thomas revealed his father-in-law has died of cancer, just one year after the disease claimed the life of his wife Gemma.

Sharing the devastating news in an emotional post on his Instagram, the 45-year-old described how his nine-year-old son Ethan was struggling to come to terms with losing those closest to him.

He wrote: ‘Life can feel very cruel. Last night Gemma’s Dad’s life reached its end as Myeloma took its final toll. It’s devastating for Rebecca who in fourteen months has lost half of her family to #bloodcancer and heartbreaking for Ethan who only a month ago said, “why do I keep losing everything I love?” Now he’s lost the man with whom he had the most special of relationships – the man he called ‘Pompa’.’

Reacting to the announcement – which included a gallery of images of Ethan cuddling up to his grandfather – fans offered their sympathies to the TV star and single dad.

One wrote: ‘oh Simon so so sorry to hear this, there are no answers. life really can be cruel. It feels like words aren’t enough at times of grief, sending lots of love to all of you!.take little steps xxx’

While a second added: ‘So very sorry to hear of more sadness for your family. Looks like he had a fab relationship with Ethan-that first photo in particular is beautiful. Looks like such a kind man from his expression.’

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Happy Christmas xx

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A third continued: ‘So sad I lost my mum suddenly to pancreatic cancer and my brother was killed in an RTA, my nephew feels the same, as do my children hugs.’

Myeloma is a blood cancer arising from plasma cells – a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow – and affects around 17,500 people in the UK, according to charity Myeloma UK.

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Christmas Day – 2015 Just a wee note to wish you a very Happy Christmas and to say thank you. Thanks the many on here who have stood by us throughout this year, who have continued to check in to see how we’re doing and have carried on sending words of encouragement. Despite having never met most of you, they have meant so much. Words cannot describe how much Ethan and I miss Gemma being part of our lives, my heart breaks daily for my boy and the unchangeable truth that his Mum is never coming back. But despite his own pain, the light that shines from him has never dimmed, even in the toughest moments. He has dragged me through this year in ways he doesn’t yet fully understand but one day will. Life is unrecognisable from just thirteen months ago; but even in the darkest moments the light has shone, and we have experienced incredible blessings in the bleakest of times. Life will never be the same again, Christmases will forever be different; but I hold onto the hope that they, and life can one day, perhaps, be as good again. Have a very Happy and peace filled Christmas xx PS. Tip for supporting the bereaved this Christmas. Talk about and remember the person who is no longer with you. Don’t treat them like the elephant in the room because for me, all I want to feel free to do, is talk about Gemma. People talking about her isn’t painful, it isn’t insensitive, it isn’t somehow helping me, instead when people talk about her it reminds me in a comforting way of how special she was to so many people. If someone who has lost needs to cry this Christmas – let them cry. If they need time out – let them have it. If they’re not their ‘usual’ selves let them be that in the knowledge that it’s nothing against you; they’re just in a lot of pain that the festive season only serves to intensify it. Just love them.

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Like her father, Simon’s wife Gemma also battled a blood cancer, dying in November 2017 – just three days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.

The aggressive cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells is responsible for more than 2,000 deaths each year, according to figures from Cancer Research UK.

In a post shared late last year Simon revealed that he would continue to honour his wife’s memory and raise awareness of the disease by becoming the President of blood cancer research charity Bloodwise.