Sean Connery had dementia, his wife reveals

<span>Photograph: David Cheskin/PA</span>
Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

Sean Connery had dementia in his final months, his wife, Micheline Roquebrune, has revealed.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Roquebrune said: “He had dementia and it took its toll on him. He got his final wish to slip away without any fuss.”

Connery died on 31 October aged 90 in the Bahamas, where he and Roquebrune had lived since the 1990s. “It was no life for him,” said Roquebrune, who married Connery in 1975. “He was not able to express himself latterly. At least he died in his sleep and it was just so peaceful. I was with him all the time and he just slipped away. It was what he wanted.”

Connery’s son, Jason, with his first wife Diane Cilento, told the BBC it was “a sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor”.

Connery played James Bond seven times on screen, including the “unofficial” Bond film Never Say Never Again. He also worked with directors including Alfred Hitchcock (Marnie), John Huston (The Man Who Would Be King, John Boorman (Zardoz), Brian De Palma (The Untouchables) and Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

Related: Sir Sean Connery obituary

Scores of Hollywood figures, including the current Bond actor Daniel Craig, paid tribute to Connery, while Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “heartbroken”.

Nicolas Cage, who starred with him in the 1996 action film The Rock, told the Guardian: “I admired Sean so much. His wisdom, humbleness and extreme honesty has guided me ever since I met him. The first movie star to lead the way in combining drama, action adventure and comedy – he did it all effortlessly and with dignity.”

Gus Van Sant, director of Finding Forrester, said: “Working with the movie hero James Bond was kind of surreal. Sean never invited me to play golf, because I think he was such a purist as a golfer, that he was cautious about who he played with, but he very much loved to go to nice restaurants and he had some amazing stories to tell. I will miss him.