Scottish dancer Lily Douglas dies from cancer, aged just 14

Strictly’s Shirley Ballas leads celebrity tributes to Scottish dancer Lily Douglas, 14, who captured the hearts of 100,000 Instagram users as her mother announces she has died of cancer

  • Lily Douglas, from Perth, had over 105,000 Instagram followers including celebs
  • The 14-year-old was inspiration for many during her battle with Ewings Sarcoma
  • She tragically suffered a brain bleed ahead of a potential breakthrough drug trial 
  • Her mother Jane revealed on social media that she passed away from the cancer 

A teenager whose battle with a rare form of cancer inspired thousands of people around the world has sadly passed away.

Lily Douglas, 14, from Perth, had been battling Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer which affects bones and the tissues surrounding them, since 2017.  

She gained thousands of followers on Instagram with her posts about life with the disease and joyful snaps as she met celebrities like Arlene Phillips and AJ Pritchard. 

Lily tragically suffered a brain bleed ahead of a potential breakthrough drug trial at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where she arrived on Friday 14 January.

Despite having shown promising signs when she woke up, Lily’s mother Jane, 52, has confirmed via social media that Lily tragically died last night.

Lily Douglas, 14,from Perth, has tragically passed away after years spent battling Ewing Sarcoma. Pictured: Lily with her Pride of Scotland Award

Lily had been crowned Teenager of Courage by the Pride of Scotland Award in 2021 and formed close bonds with celebrities including Strictly Come Dancing’s Dame Arlene Phillips and Lewis Capaldi. 

Arlene, 78, even gushed about how Lily had inspired her to take part in last year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! during her time on the show.

She said: ‘One of the bravest, most fearless girls is a little girl I know called Lily Douglas, she’s so fearless.

‘I thought, here I am afraid of so many things. What better way can you push yourself than to do something like this?’

Arlene Phillips has previously claimed Lily inspired her to take part in last year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!. Pictured: Arlene and Lily at the Pride of Scotland Awards

The talented teenager, who joined Miss Scotland Claudia Todd, to model prom dresses on the catwalk last October, also struck up a notable friendship with Lewis Capaldi.

The singer gave her ‘the best day of her life’ when he invited her on stage for his performance at TRNSMT in 2019. 

She had gained over 100k followers on her Instagram page, where she often shared snaps as she received treatments and marked her milestones.

In December she told fans she had been accepted onto a drug trials miles away from home.

Strictly’s Shirley Ballas was among the first celebrities to pay tribute to Lily on Instagram, as many sent their condolences to her family 

However she suffered a brain bleed before she could begin the potentially breakthrough treatment at a Newcastle hospital.

Lily’s parents were warned she might not make it through the night. 

After the brain bleed, doctors warned Jane that they ‘didn’t know what damage could have occurred’, according to Edinburgh Live.

However she woke up the next day, eating and swiping through her phone. 

But, in a heartbreaking Instagram post, Jane revealed that she had been by Lily’s side when the 14-year-old tragically passed away on 23 January.

Jane wrote: ‘My beautiful baby girl danced her way to heaven at 7.17 tonight.


Ewing’s Sarcoma is a cancer of the bone, which usually affects the ribs, pelvis and spine. In rare cases, it also occurs in the soft tissues.

The condition affects less than 30 children a year in the UK.

Around 225 young people are diagnosed annually in the US.

Ewing’s Sarcoma’s cause is unclear but may relate to the timing of rapid bone growth.

The most common symptom is pain, which is usually worse at night.

Others may include:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Treatment depends on the size and position of the tumor but usually involves chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.

Amputation may be unavoidable if the cancer affects the surrounding blood vessels and nerves.

However, this may be avoidable by replacing the bone with a prosthesis or a bone from elsewhere in the body.

Source: Macmillan, NHS

‘Her heart failed but she was on the sofa at home cuddled into me where she wanted to be.

‘She will leave a massive hole in my heart. If love could have saved her she would have lived to a million years old.

‘She is at peace and is finally in no more pain. Even with cancer Lily lived her best life, and was loved by everyone.’

She continued: ‘I hope I made her proud I was her mum, we were a great team…It’s not goodbye.

Lily (pictured) had been a talented dancer, who racked up over 105,000 Instagram followers with her inspirational posts

‘She will be waiting on me, its only time that will keep us apart. She looks so beautiful and peaceful and even died with her beautiful blonde hair.  

‘Thank you all for your love and support I could not have done this without you all.’  

A stream of celebrities who admired Lily’s bravery throughout her battle with cancer have taken to her Instagram to share their condolences.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas led the tributes, writing: ‘RIP I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a beautiful young lady.’

Posting on Instagram, Lily’s mother Jane explained that the teenager passed away while they were cuddling on the sofa last night 

Alan Carr posted: ‘How awful. Sending you so much love.’ 

TikTok influencer Holly H commented: ‘I’m so sorry, I’m gonna miss our chats. Lily truly brought a  smile to my face every single time we spoke. Sending all my love’ 

Elliana Walmsley of TV’s Dance Moms wrote: ‘I love you, Lily. Dancing with you is one of my best memories! You have inspired me over the years to remember that even when things get rough, to keep fighting and keep a smile on my face.

‘You touched both my mom and my heart and our friendship will remain forever! We could have talked for hours more in the van that night. Sending so many hugs to mum Jane and your family. Prayers and love’.  

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