The grieving husband of a young mother who battled to get cancer drugs on the NHS paid tribute yesterday to his wife's courage.

Christian Newbery's wife Hayley died on Friday night in St James's Hospital, Leeds, following extensive surgery on her liver and bowel tumours.

Mr Newbery said the 26-year-old mother of two had remained determined to fight the disease that eventually claimed her life.

Mrs Newbery's plight made headlines as she battled to get the "wonder" drug Avastin. She learned last year that she was two months from death unless she took the drug which would shrink her liver and bowel tumours so they could be removed.

The £50,000 medication was only available privately, but doctors relented and allowed her to be treated on the NHS. The drug did shrink her tumours but her local Cambridge hospital, Addenbrooke's, said the cancer was too severe for her to undergo an operation.

St James's Hospital agreed to help instead and Mrs Newbery underwent a 15-hour operation last week.

The first part of the surgery, on her bowel, went smoothly but the team hit problems when they operated on her liver.