Patient case study story: Nick Baldev

08 January 1983 – 25 June 2023

On the day new film  ‘Rise of the Footsoldier: Vengeance’ is released, which features model Nick Baldev (pictured in the film below), we wanted to dedicate today’s patient story in his memory.


Nick Baldev, affectionately known during his lifetime as ‘Big Nick’ and ‘Big Maradona’ lived in Richmond and Knightsbridge.

He is survived by Dad (Rajan), Mum (Latika), younger sister (Sheena) and his two nieces (Anya and Jiya)

About Nick

Nick Baldev, affectionately known to most as ‘Big Nick’, lived life to the fullest before sadly passing away from bowel cancer at the age of 40. Nick was a man of many talents – actor, hair and beard model, globetrotter, trend-setter and golfer to name but a few. He particularly enjoyed watching his beloved Arsenal, listening to the Rolling Stones and was partial to a glass of fine whiskey and a cigar. Nick will be remembered as a fun-loving, kind and generous man with a heart to match his physical stature. He would do anything for anyone and made an indelible mark on the lives of so many during his lifetime. 

Signs and symptoms

For most of his adult life, Nick lived with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease called Colitis which was first diagnosed at age 17. Colitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bowel which stress and certain foods can aggravate. However, Nick managed his symptoms by eating wholesome meals cooked from scratch and lived life to the full in spite of his condition.

In early 2023, Nick sought advice from a GP in London after experiencing a flare-up of symptoms associated with Colitis. He was prescribed a steroid to treat those symptoms and was subsequently put on a repeat prescription, but was not referred for any tests to delve deeper into whether those symptoms were truly related to his Colitis. 

By the beginning of June 2023, those symptoms had not improved and therefore Nick pushed for a hospital appointment. On 19 June, Nick underwent a colonoscopy at a London hospital (which involves a flexible camera being placed inside the bottom in order to examine the bowel) to get a better understanding of what had caused the apparent Colitis flare-up. The colonoscopy procedure identified a large lump in Nick’s bowel and he was sent for an urgent MRI and CT scan.

Nick’s Dad Rajan recalls: “We received a call from the hospital Consultant in the afternoon of 21st June, the day we returned from holiday, asking us to bring in clothes and an overnight bag for Nick as they wanted to admit him to hospital after finding a suspicious lump during the colonoscopy.

They said it might be cancer but it is probably localised and could be treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We were all completely shocked as we assumed Nick’s symptoms of a changed bowel pattern were down to his long-term Colitis diagnosis.” 

Following his admission to hospital, Nick started to get pain in his stomach and was given morphine. This was accompanied by a build-up of water in his stomach which needed to be drained. On Saturday 24 June, Nick’s heart rate had exceeded a high of 160 bpm and his Doctors had decided that emergency surgery was required (at this time Nick was still awaiting the results of a biopsy taken during his colonoscopy). 

During the surgery, Nick was placed under general anaesthetic and cameras were inserted into Nick’s stomach. The cameras revealed that Nick had a 10cm tumour in the colon and that the cancer was very advanced. Consequently, Nick’s Doctors decided that the surgery should not proceed due to the critical risks of going ahead.

Nick’s Dad remembers: “At 10:20pm that evening we were told the devastating news that Nick had only a day or at best, a matter of days left to live, and there was nothing the Doctors could do to help. Our world collapsed. It was beyond devastating and incomprehensible. Nick was told to spend as much time as he could with his family and friends so Nick started to call his friends inviting them to his ward.

“He was very happy on his final day in the ICU as everyone who loved him was around him. Around 90 people were in the room by lunchtime and the hospital kindly turned a blind eye to the rules on visitors numbers that day due to the extreme circumstances.

“Nick spoke with each and every one of his friends and family and even found the strength to sing his favourite Rolling Stones song ‘Gimme Shelter’. He told jokes and reminisced about many of his hilarious and wild escapades. His friends had brought in some of his favourite whiskeys and, true to form, Nick ensured that we all had a glass before giving a toast and thanking everyone for coming. Equally true to form, he asked his mum to get chocolates for all the doctors and nurses who looked after him. Even in his final hours, his huge heart shone through.

“Nick passed away at 7:30pm on Sunday 25 June. Before he died, he asked his Mum to hold his left hand and for me to hold his right hand. He said: ‘I beat cancer, cancer didn’t beat me. Even cancer could not touch my hair’. I will never forget these final words.”

Professor Neil Mortensen, Chair at charity Occtopus and Professor in Colorectal Surgery said: “As Nick’s tragic story shows, Colitis and bowel cancer share many common symptoms. These symptoms include long-lasting and unexplained changes to your bowel habit, blood in your stool and repeated stomach pain. You can have mild Colitis without realising it, but more importantly if you have had a diagnosis of Colitis then you must have regular check ups by a specialist,  which might include a colonoscopy. This is really important even if the colitis seems to be behaving  itself.  If you are a colitis sufferer and have what you consider to be a flare up it is imperative you speak with your GP to ensure that all appropriate tests are carried out.”

Rajan continued: “Knowing this about Colitis could save your life and this is why we are sharing Nick’s incredible story to raise awareness and prevent another IBD sufferer going through what Nick did.”

Fundraising for Occtopus

Nick wanted his family to do something for charity to help other people with colon cancer. His parents researched charities that specialise in bowel cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease and found Occtopus, the Oxford Colon Cancer Trust.

Occtopus pioneers new treatments and research into bowel diseases including cancer and influences how they are treated across the NHS from its hub in Oxford. The charity also funds breakthrough national and international research to improve patient outcomes and care and is the perfect fit for Nick’s fundraising legacy.

To donate, visit Nick’s page

Share on