Michael Palin tells of ‘indescribable loss’ as he reveals wife has died weeks after their 57th wedding anniversary

2 May 2023, 15:02 | Updated: 3 May 2023, 07:31

Sir Michael and Helen Gibbins were married for 57 years
Sir Michael and Helen Gibbins were married for 57 years . Picture: Facebook via Michael Palin/Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Monty Python actor Sir Michael Palin announced the death of his wife Helen Gibbins in a heartbreaking post to social media.

Sir Michael, 79, has shared the news of his wife’s death just two and a half weeks after they celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary.

According to Sir Michael, his wife had a lengthy battle with chronic pain in the years leading up to her death, followed by a kidney failure diagnosis.

His post sharing the news read: “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.

“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.

“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.

“The family ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”

Read more: Parents of murdered teacher Marelle Sturrock pay tribute to 'happiest person' and reveal she was expecting baby boy

Sir Michael shared the news of his wife's death on Tuesday morning.
Sir Michael shared the news of his wife's death on Tuesday morning. Picture: Facebook via Michael Palin
Helen suffered from chronic pain for a number of years, Sir Michael revealed.
Helen suffered from chronic pain for a number of years, Sir Michael revealed. Picture: Alamy

Tributes poured in in the comments, with one person writing: “Sorry to hear such sad news....please accept my sincerest condolences.

"I remember Mrs Palin buying you a Pulsar watch at the start of 80 Days, and I worked for them at the time. I clearly remember thinking what good taste Mrs Palin had.”

Another said: “My sincerest condolences. From when she packed you off to go round the world, I’ve always thought what a true example an understanding woman, she was. RIP.”

Read more: Father-of-three who got trapped in indoor cave at adventure park dies from his injuries

“I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Im reading your diaries at the moment and Helen comes across as such a warm and lovely person. My thoughts are with your family,” another social media user added.

Sir Michael published a book series with his diary entries from over the years, documenting the different parts of his life, including the early days of his marriage.

The pair first met age 16, and tied the knot in 1966 during their early twenties.

Sir Michael opened up in an interview with the Telegraph last year about how his wife had recently been moved into respite care, after spending 50 years in the same home.

The pair have three children: Thomas, 54, William, 52, and Rachel, 48.

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