Richard E. Grant says his late wife Joan was diagnosed with lung cancer before Christmas

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Richard E. Grant has paid tribute to his wife, Joan Washington, following her death from lung cancer. (Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Richard E. Grant has paid tribute to his wife, Joan Washington, following her death from lung cancer. (Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images)

Richard E. Grant says his wife Joan Washington, who died on Sept. 2, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer just before Christmas last year. 

Grant and dialect coach Washington were married for more than 30 years after meeting at the Actors Centre in Covent Garden in November 1982.

Writing in the Daily Mail, the Oscar-nominated star described his relationship with Washington as "the ride of my lifetime."

He wrote: "Since her stage four lung cancer diagnosis two days before Christmas, she was accepting, clear sighted, sanguine and totally without self-pity."

Thanking the doctors who provided his wife with care, he reflected on his final months with Washington, with whom he shared a grown daughter, Olivia. 

"It's been my privilege to be by your side, sharing our last eight months together, enabling us to say everything we possibly wanted and needed to, so that when you asked Olivia and me two weeks ago 'to let me go,' we unequivocally said 'yes.'"

In the article, Grant shared numerous memories of his time with Washington, as well as revealing their secret signals for when to leave a party if one or the other was bored.

He added: "It's an extraordinary phenomenon to be truly 'seen' and 'known' by another human, and in Joan, I found someone who innately did both."

Richard E. Grant and Joan Washington have a daughter, Olivia, together. (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Richard E. Grant and Joan Washington have a daughter, Olivia, together. (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Washington, who was 71 at the time of her death, is survived by Olivia as well as her son Tom, from a previous relationship.

She began her career working as a vocal coach on Barbra Streisand's 1983 musical, Yentl.

A fixture in Hollywood, she went on to work with the likes of Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and Ralph Fiennes on some of their most acclaimed projects.

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