Jarman died 'with dignity and stoicism': Admirers praise great original talent of British cinema. Stephen Ward reports

THE long-drawn-out voyage to death of Derek Jarman reached its destination at the weekend, in a hospital room that had been filled in recent days with a procession of his ardent admirers.

It was an end that the film-maker had thought on long and hard, and spoken of often, since he was diagnosed HIV positive on 22 December 1986, a condition he revealed a month later.

When it finally came, at 11pm on Saturday in St Bartholomew's hospital, after much suffering, it was at least not a lonely death. Keith Collins, who had lived with Jarman for six years, had slept on the floor of his room at Bart's for the past three weeks, and many friends had visited right up until the end.

Nicholas de Jongh, film critic of the London Evening Standard, was among those at Jarman's bedside on Saturday night. 'People visited non-stop, of all sorts, genders and all sexualities,' he said.

'He was hugely adored. He was remarkably in control until quite late on.'

Jarman had requested that his medication be stopped, Mr de Jongh said. 'He submitted with profound dignity and stoicism to the devastating effects of the virus, although at the end he had no sight and very little quality of life.' A flood of tributes followed the announcement yesterday evening of the loss of one of British cinema's most singular and uncompromising figures.

Mr de Jongh said: 'He came out before coming out was fashionable. People felt he was the first homosexual man to tell it as it was, or is, or has been. To some people his bravura was distasteful and they even suggested he deserved to be dying - he reacted with puzzled regret. He was a gentleman.'

Marjorie Mowlam, Labour's national heritage spokesman, described him last night as 'a great artist, a great man of British cinema and a man who made what Aids sufferers go through comprehensible to many people'.

David Mellor, former Secrtary of State for National Heritage, said: 'I very much admired Derek Jarman's courage and resilience. While on a visit to Bart's I had the opportunity of talking to him, and his serenity and optimism in the face of what is a ghastly illness deeply impressed me. It will be for posterity to decide what Derek's artistic accomplishments mean but he was a man of great courage and artistic vision and kept working right up to the end.'

Melvyn Bragg, the arts critic and broadcaster, said of Jarman's death: 'It is very sad news, not unexpected but still very sad.'

Jarman was one of a great British tradition of artists, in his eccentricity and originality, Mr Bragg said. He had faced his death in an 'exemplary way'.

Angela Mason, executive director of the lesbian and gay lobbying group Stonewall, said: 'His courage, intelligence and indeed anger gave heart and hope to thousands of lesbians and gay men.'

She added: 'Derek's contribution will live on in his work and in the political movement for lesbians and gay men he helped to forge.'

The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the group OutRage, which Jarman had supported, said last night: 'Derek made an unforgettable contribution to lesbian and gay visibility, pride and achievement.'

Despite his illness, Jarman continued to to work as long as possible, writing, painting and film- making.

And he continued to give interviews in which he spoke of his homosexuality and his disease.

He said once: 'I'm not going to be pleased to die, particularly, but I don't feel unhappy.

'After struggling with these illnesses you feel 'Well at least I won't have to do that any more'.'

(Photographs omitted)

Obituary, page 14

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?