Sarah Parkinson, the writer and producer wife of comedian Paul Merton, has died of cancer at the age of 41.
Paul Merton and Sarah Parkinson had worked on projects together
Ms Parkinson was diagnosed with breast cancer in February last year and had been living an active life until her condition worsened a few weeks
She died on Tuesday morning with her husband by her bedside.
The couple had been together for a number of
years before they married in June.
In a statement issued by his agent, Merton said: "After her
initial devastating diagnosis of cancer in February 2002 Sarah successfully
lived with the disease for the next 19 months.
"She refused chemotherapy because she knew it would finish her off.
"Instead, she boosted her immune system with a mixture of nutritional therapy, yoga,
meditation, positive thinking and laughter.
"Consequently she led a full and active life right up to the last couple of weeks when her condition suddenly worsened."
Merton's statement added: "She faced the situation with courage and died
serenely and without pain in the early hours of Tuesday morning."
In the past three years, Ms Parkinson worked on a number of projects with Merton, who is a team captain on BBC news quiz show Have I Got News For You.
Their projects included writing a short film called Suicidal Dog, which marked his debut as a director and was shown on BBC2.
She also helped write and devise a number of productions for BBC Radio 2 and 4.
Ian Hislop, Merton's fellow team captain on Have I Got News For You, said:
"It's a terrible loss and I am really sad for Paul."
Helen Boaden, controller of Radio 4, said: "She
was an inspired radio producer whose work was creative, funny and subversive.
"She was also an inspiring person whom we loved. We will miss her very
Lorraine Heggessey, controller of BBC 1, said: "Sarah was a wonderful woman
in every way."
Ms Parkinson's writing will also feature in the forthcoming series of the BBC
show Room 101 due to be screened later this year.
A collection of short stories published this month in aid of Breast Cancer
Care featured a story written by her.
Ms Parkinson's funeral will be a private family service, Merton's statement said.