LONDON - Iconic Scottish actor Sean Connery, who has died at the age of 90, suffered from dementia in his final years, his widow Micheline Roquebrune revealed on Sunday.
Connery, famous for playing the original on-screen James Bond, passed away at his home in the Bahamas, prompting an outpouring of tributes.
He died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family members, his widow Micheline Roquebrune told the Mail on Sunday.
"I was with him all the time and he just slipped away," the 91-year-old told the newspaper.
"He had dementia and it took its toll on him. He got his final wish to slip away without any fuss.
"It was no life for him. He was not able to express himself latterly."
Connery will be honoured in a private funeral ceremony, with a memorial event to be held later, according to a publicist.
The actor, who was knighted in 2000, won numerous awards during his decades-spanning career encompassing an array of big-screen hits, including an Oscar, three Golden Globes and two Bafta awards.
But it was his smooth, Scottish-accented portrayal of the suave licensed-to-kill spy 007 that earned him lasting worldwide fame and adoration.
The first actor to utter the unforgettable "Bond, James Bond", Connery made six official films as novelist Ian Fleming's creation, giving what many still consider to be the definitive portrayal.
Former 007 actor Pierce Brosnan joined the flood of weekend tributes to the Scottish actor, who he said "led the way for us all who followed in your iconic foot steps".
"You were my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself, you cast a long shadow of cinematic splendour that will live on forever," Brosnan added.
Meanwhile US President Donald Trump, like Connery a golf fanatic, took to Twitter to praise the big-screen star after he passed "on to even greener fairways".
"He was quite a guy, and a tough character," Trump added, claiming Connery had once helped one of his Scottish developments win approval by saying "let him build the damn thing".
"He was so highly regarded & respected in Scotland and beyond that years of future turmoil was avoided."
MODEL OF A MAN
Connery, born in Edinburgh in 1930, married French artist Roquebrune in 1974, a year after he divorced first wife Diane Cilento.
The couple first met in Morocco in 1970. They had lived outside his native Britain for decades, previously owning a home in the Spanish resort of Marbella and then in the Bahamas.
In one of the last photographs said to have been taken of the 007 legend, and published by the Mail on Sunday, Connery can be seen clasping the hand of a smiling Roquebrune.
The picture was taken on the pair's 45th wedding anniversary on May 6, according to the paper.
"He was gorgeous and we had a wonderful life together," the Tunisian-born widow said.
"He was a model of a man. It is going to be very hard without him, I know that. But it could not last for ever and he went peacefully."
© Agence France-Presse