Lynda Bellingham dead: Watch actress in final interviews - 'I don't want to die a sad old lady'. I want to go out there as I am'

Video recap: The Loose Women presenter told the BBC she was hoping to survive until Christmas

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The Independent Online

Following the death of the actress Lynda Bellingham at the age of 66, we look back at one of her final interviews with the BBC where she showed great strength and humour despite knowing she had lost her battle with bowel cancer.

Bellingham's agent, Sue Latimer, said the Loose Women presented passed away "in her husband’s arms" on Sunday.

Bellingham recorded for final Loose Women appearance on 8 October and the episode will be aired this Wednesday.

Lynda Bellingham's best TV moments remembered

However, Bellingham spoke to BBC Breakfast on 7 October when she told presenters Charlie Stayt and Louise Minchin she hoped to spend one last Christmas with her family.

Ahead of the publication of her book, There's Something I've Been Dying to Tell You, Bellingham revealed she had decided to end her chemotherapy treatment after the Christmas holidays.

Discussing the book and the reaction to her decision to end her treatment, she told the BBC: "There is an understanding that I decided to die. Nobody decides when they can die. What I did was talk to the oncologist. When I was in a lot of pain, and when you’re in a lot of pain, it affects your judgement. So the decision to give up chemo was a huge relief because I took back some control of myself. It’s there on the table if I want it."

Bellingham said she went into hospital for an operation last Christmas and that affected the success of the chemotherapy treatment. It was when she had to go back into hospital once more that she decided how to approach her cancer.

"I went into hospital and I thought I don’t want the boys or my husband to see me die a little sad old lady. I want to go out there as I am. So I said to the oncologist, 'Is it kind of defeatist of me?' And he said, 'No, make a decision, but don’t stick by it.'"

Bellingham’s book details her battle with bowel cancer, but she told BBC Breakfast that the book was not an "embarrassing account of me having terminal cancer" but rather a guide for people who are given such devastating news and how they can make it "positive".

"You know, we don’t talk about dying, so I talk about wills, I talk about lots of other things. So many people I meet spend the last fifteen years of their life worrying about their death, especially elderly people, how they’re going to pay for it. I wanted to write it for everybody," she said.

"If two people read this book, and think that’s how I feel and I’m not on my own, then I’ll have done something half decent for a change."

Bellingham said that while she was "in a good place" it was hardest on her husband and her family.

"In the middle of the night you do have terrible scary moments. I just don’t want that moment of saying goodbye. So let’s all talk about, let’s hug each other, let’s cry, let’s do all that, and hopefully, you’ll go to sleep and that’ll be it.

"I wish I could take their grief away, but by talking about it, that moment won’t be quite so awful."

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