The death of Sir Bruce Forsyth on 18 August followed years of ill-health that forced his departure from BBC One hit Strictly Come Dancing and ended a career spanning five decades.

He's survived by five daughters, a son, nine grandchildren and Wilnelia Merced, his third wife of 34 years who stood at his side through a series of illnesses, including a severe chest infection earlier this year that left him hospitalised.

Forsyth withdrew from the public eye but Merced made a number of interviews over the past few years to keep the TV legend's many fans updated on his wellbeing.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday's You magazine in November 2016, she discussed how the pair were forced to confront the future, revealing the heartbreaking message her husband had given her.

He told her she is strong and assured his wife that she would make a life after he was gone. "I don't think about it too much," she said. "I hope I'll be prepared somehow, but it doesn't feel real."

Talking about his health taking a turn for the worse, she said: "He's the man I fell in love with because his brain is there. He has a bit of a problem moving, but we still laugh and talk. The pain is more emotional; sometimes we cry, but mostly we laugh."

Bruce and Wilnelia's relationship drew attention early on because of the 29-year age gap between the former Miss World and the famed game show host known for shows like The Generation Game and The Price is Right.

The pair met when he was 52 and she was just 23. They married in 1983. Forsyth's health appeared to be at its worst in late 2015, when he fell at his home and suffered two life-threatening aneurysms, forcing doctors to operate. "The operation took his energy because of his age, there's no question about it," she explained to the magazine. "Some days are better than others. On the not-so-good days, he tries to rest."

Wilnelia revealed that her main concern was keeping her husband entertained. "Thank God he's a TV freak," she said. "During the summer he followed the Olympics. Now we have The Apprentice.

"He enjoys watching Question Time, we do puzzles and he loves the internet. I used to go to a zumba class to keep fit; now I do it at home in front of him. The children come to stay all the time, so there's plenty of love around."

Forsyth's manager said in a statement that the entertainer died "peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children".