Honiton’s Kirstie Tancock loses fight for life

PUBLISHED: 10:01 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:45 05 December 2016

Xtreme Fitness with Kirstie Tancock at The Dissenter Hall. Ref shs 20-16TI 0796. Picture: Terry Ife

Xtreme Fitness with Kirstie Tancock at The Dissenter Hall. Ref shs 20-16TI 0796. Picture: Terry Ife


The 27-year-old passed away in the early hours of this morning (December 1).

Kirstie Tancock, who inspired a nation with her transplant story, has died aged 27.

The pole fitness instructor, who lived in Honiton, was born with cystic fibrosis and underwent two gruelling double lung transplants, one in 2011 and the other in 2013.

On Facebook, Kirstie’s husband Stuart, posted: “I am sorry to say this morning my beautiful wife and Lyns’ beautiful daughter passed onto a place where she can dance, sing, party and pole as much as she wants.

“There is also no pain and suffering now. Kirstie was one in a million and meant the world and more too so many people.

“As you know Kirstie is a fighter and fought to the very end. She went peaceful and pain free.

“I can’t express what we and the family are going through currently.”

Stuart also thanked Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and Harefield Hospital for the expertise provided to Kirstie, and the two donors who enabled his wife to live for an extra five years.

Kirstie was born with cystic fibrosis, a life-limiting condition that causes mucus to gather in the lungs and digestive system.

In a blog post written a few weeks ago, Kirstie explained how doctors had diagnosed her body with chronic rejection of her new lungs, resulting in a health decline which meant that she was too ill to be considered for a third transplant.

In her post, Kirstie wrote: I’m 27 - an age I never thought I would get to see.

“But due to miracles from medical practitioners and my donors I have been kept here to enjoy what have been the best years of my life, experiencing things I could barely have dreamt of.

“I’m so grateful for every extra second I have had with my family, friends and all the amazing people I met and those I got to teach and lives I got to influence, mostly I hope, for the better.

“I always wanted to make a difference with my life, leave a positive impact on the earth.

“I like to think I have done that.”

Kirstie came to the nation’s attention after undergoing two exhaustive double-lung transplants - one in 2011 and the other in 2013.

The fitness instructor also captured the hearts of thousands as she became the focus of a BBC documentary Love on the Transplant List, which documented her journey towards getting her first transplant.

Kirstie underwent her first double lung transplant in 2011, having been on the transplant waiting list for three months.

She was transferred to a Harefield Hospital, in London, and was in a coma for five days when a last-minute match became available.

Despite the operation’s success, Kirstie had to handle a devastating blow when she suffered chronic rejection of the organs two years later.

Furthermore, she was initially told that she would not be re-listed for a transplant as her lungs had built up antibodies which would make another match extremely rare.

Undeterred, Kirstie continued to live her life with a determined optimism and with just a week left to live, she had her miracle - another match.

But in a cruel twist of fate three years on, she has experienced chronic rejection again - and a severe deterioration in her health as a result.

Kirstie died at 12.13am this morning (Thursday, December 1).

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Midweek Herald