Tributes have poured in for inspirational marathon runner Ben Ashworth, who has died after a long battle with bowel cancer.
The 38-year-old from Preston passed away on Sunday with his family around him.
His wife Louise posted on the Ben’s Bowel Movements Facebook page: “Dear friends who have followed Ben and our family on our Cancer Adventure. Thank you for all your support and encouragement.
“This is the hardest post to write. Ben found peace early this morning. With myself and his mum holding his hand, he drifted away to meet our Heavenly Father.
“We are heartbroken, but we are also in awe of the time we have been blessed with. How he has defied the odds. The way he won every race. We are grateful this wasn’t a marathon and he his last days were spent surrounded by those he loves and we were able to keep him at home.
“We would appreciate your words on this page. Unfortunately we won’t be able to respond to any direct messages.
“I can assure everyone that myself and our beautiful girls are being well looked after.
In love, Louise and family xxx”
Messages in tribute to Ben on the site quickly passed the 1,000 mark.
Among them was one from Steve Marsden, which said: “There are no words really that can adequately express how I and all of us felt and feel about Ben. His strength his humour his wit his faith and his humanity. His soul was blessed and those who were privileged enough to have known him no matter how long or fleeting that may have been we are all much better human beings for it.”
Roxanne Crabtree added: “Ben was a pleasure to see when he came in for is work outs and always had a beaming smile on his face. It was infectious. May you rest in peace Ben.”
Ben was diagnosed with the disease in 2012 and told he only had months to live.
Since then he has run marathons, including four ultras, to raise money for charity and combat the stigma of bowel cancer.