Michael Palin announces wife Helen has died after suffering 'chronic pain' and kidney failure

The couple first met over 60 years ago

Helen Gibbins, left, and Michael Palin in 2015. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Helen Gibbins, left, and Michael Palin in 2015. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Michael Palin has announced that his wife Helen has died just weeks after the couple celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary.

In a statement posted on his website, Palin said: "My dearest wife Helen died peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"She had been suffering with chronic pain for several years, which was compounded a few years ago by a diagnosis of kidney failure."

Read more: Sir Michael Palin: I am worried about the future of the BBC

He then detailed how the two first met over 60 years ago: "We first met on a summer holiday on the Suffolk coast when we were both sixteen and we married in our early twenties. Two and a half weeks ago we celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary."

Michael Palin and his wife Helen arrive at the premiere of the new movie 'Fierce Creatures' January 28. Palin has been re-united with former Monty Python colleague John-Cleese for the film which also stars Americans Jami- Lee-Curtis and Kevin-Kline.
Michael Palin announces his wife Helen has died. (Reuters)

The Monty Python legend concluded by saying: "Her death is an indescribable loss for myself, our three children and four grandchildren. Helen was the bedrock of my life. Her quietly wise judgment informed all my decisions and her humour and practical good sense was was at the heart of our life together."

Palin and his wife first met in 1959, an incident he later fictionalised for his television drama East of Ipswich about his youthful holidays to the coast.

The couple had three children together – Thomas, William and Rachel.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Michael Palin attends the
Michael Palin has lost his wife of 57 years. (Getty Images)

Palin previously addressed his wife's illness in an interview with the Telegraph last year after she moved into respite care. He said: "I don't think you can cure it, but they will help her manage it. It's such a bore. She was so active and still is mentally. But the body is declining. We live life with our fingers crossed."

The adventurer and broadcaster has also been open about his own health issues in recent years including undergoing heart surgery in 2019: "My heart scare reminded me that my body isn't indestructible and if I want to keep it that way I must know when to stop working as well as when to start again."

The family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.

Watch below: Sir Michael Palin on Terry Jones' death.