Sir Tom Jones's wife, Melinda Rose Woodward, dies

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The wife of singer Sir Tom Jones has died after a "short but fierce battle with cancer", it has been announced.

Melinda Rose Woodward - known as Linda - who was married to the star for 59 years, died on Sunday morning at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

"Surrounded by her husband and loved ones, she passed away peacefully," a statement on 75-year-old Sir Tom's website said.

He recently cancelled concerts due to a "serious illness" in his family.

Sir Tom, famous for hits including Delilah, It's Not Unusual and Sex Bomb, had been due to perform at a number of his tour dates in Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, but apologised to fans after pulling out.

He met his wife, his childhood sweetheart, when they were both 12 and growing up together in Treforest, Pontypridd. Melinda Trenchard, as she was then, came from a family of local cinema owners.

media captionTom Jones, "she is the most important thing in my life."

In an interview with the BBC last year, he said he would watch her pass his window with friends as he lay in bed suffering with tuberculosis for two years.

"I was in love with her when I had TB when I was 12," he said.

"And I would be thinking 'oh my god, let's get this TB over with so I can hold her'.

"So I really ached, you know. When they say heart ache, I physically ached."

They started dating at 15 and used to meet at a phone box at the end of Sir Tom's street in Treforest "because it would be raining - in Wales it rains quite a lot".

"And we were so wrapped up in one another it's unbelievable."

The couple married when they were 16 in 1957 - and later had the phone box moved from Treforest to their home in Los Angeles.

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They had one son Mark, 59, who is also Sir Tom's manager.

They had wanted more children, but the singer revealed in his 2015 autobiography, Over The Top And Back, that a miscarriage had left his wife infertile.

Over the years, Lady Woodward had to face allegations of Sir Tom's numerous affairs and he said she once hit him: "And I took it because I knew I was wrong."

She also became reclusive in later years, rarely leaving their Beverly Hills home, where he said she battled emphysema and had depression.

However, Sir Tom said she remained the most important person in his life.

"We love one another," he told the BBC.

"I think love conquers all and it's the truth. And a sense of humour... because we grew up together, we're both Welsh. You know, growing up in south Wales, there's a certain sense of humour there."

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