Debbie McGee has said she and husband Paul Daniels had a ‘fairytale life’ together as she paid tribute to him.
The 77-year-old was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in February and had chosen to spend his final days with his family at his Berkshire home.
Debbie, his wife of 28 years, thanked wellwishers for their support since the magician fell at home and was rushed to hospital, suspected of having suffered a stroke. It was then that the tumour was discovered.
She told the BBC: “The way to describe Paul was that, yes, he did television shows and people knew who he was and he did shows for royalty and we flew around the world. You know, we had a fairytale life and we were so happy together.
“But Paul as a person was like in the village, in the queue for the post office, either doing tricks on them or making them all laugh. And he was as happy doing that as he was walking on stage at the Palladium or doing a TV show or doing a show for the Royal Family. He loved people. He was interested in everybody.”
She said Paul had not known he was dying.
“Paul didn’t know at all. The tumour was pressing on the part of the brain that processes information. So although he was talking and communicating and knowing who I was and everything, he actually wasn’t taking in new information, which is actually quite hard to tell,” she said.
When she first found out the news she came back from hospital and ‘cried the whole night’, but then resolved to make the time he had left the ‘best time possible’.
Choking back the tears, Debbie added: “He never saw me cry. I smiled. I put my make up on and hair every day.”
The pair spent their remaining time together at home eating magnums, watching ITV’s The Chase and spending time in the garden.
She said: “Our life has been full of laughter and that’s what it’s been the last few weeks. Up until the last 48 hours when he slipped into a sleep.”
Earlier Gary Daniels, one of the entertainer’s three sons, said on Twitter: “It is with incredible sadness that I can confirm that Dad, Paul Daniels, passed away over night.”
The tweet included a picture of a rabbit in a magician’s black hat with a tear in its eye. Outside the hat was an Ace of Hearts playing card with the heart broken.