Paul Merton's wife dies of cancer

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The wife of the comedian Paul Merton has died after suffering from breast cancer.

Sarah Parkinson, 41, a writer and producer, was diagnosed with cancer in February last year and was pursuing an active life until her condition deteriorated a few weeks ago. She died on Tuesday morning with her husband at her bedside.

The Have I Got News For You star, whose first marriage, to the comedian Caroline Quentin, was dissolved in 1999 after eight years, married Ms Parkinson in June.

In the past three years, Ms Parkinson worked on a number of projects with Merton, including writing Suicidal Dog, a short film that marked his debut as a director and was shown on BBC2. She also helped to devise and write a number of productions for BBC Radio 2 and 4.

In a statement issued by his agent, Mandy Ward, Merton said: "After her initial devastating diagnosis of cancer in February 2002 Sarah successfully lived with the disease for the next 19 months.

"She refused chemotherapy because she knew it would finish her off. Instead, she boosted her immune system with a mixture of nutritional therapy, yoga, meditation, positive thinking and laughter."