The veteran actor died aged 85 at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday (29Sep10) after suffering a cardiac arrest.
His wife spoke out to assure fans Curtis died “peacefully surrounded by those who loved him” – and revealed he was hospitalised several times in recent weeks for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which she blames on his smoking.
She tells U.S. TV show Inside Edition, “About 30 years ago he quit. But his lungs never worked the way they should have. So he was always fighting that… He died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him. In his bedroom where he loved to be.
“I’m very happy we made the decision to bring him home from the hospital. He passed in his sleep… His heart survived things that Tony would always say would kill an ordinary man. This time, his heart was ready to go and ready to be at peace.”
Actress Debbie Reynolds, who starred alongside Curtis in Goodbye Charlie and The Rat Race, also paid tribute to the star.
She told U.S. talk show host Larry King, “Well, we were really good friends… He loved life. Tony loved life… He certainly didn’t want to go now. Nobody had a better time than Tony. He loved the ladies. He loved art. He loved this business more than anything…
“(He was a) great looking guy, handsome… We were all very close friends when we were young, a long, long time ago. But he had a wonderful life. He had a full life. He was a great, marvellous actor.”