"It took its toll on him," said Micheline Roquebrune, who married Sean Connery in 1975

By Maria Pasquini
November 01, 2020 11:15 AM

Sean Connery’s wife Micheline Roquebrune is opening up about her husband’s final days.

“It was no life for him,” the French-Moroccan artist told the Mail on Sunday, revealing that the actor, who died on Saturday in his sleep, had been struggling with dementia. “It took its toll on him,” she said. “He was not able to express himself latterly.”

Roquebrune, 91, went on to share that Connery “got his final wish to slip away without any fuss.”

“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,” she said. “It was what he wanted.”

Micheline Roquebrune and Sean Connery
| Credit: Charles Sykes/Shutterstock

The late actor died while staying in the Bahamas. A cause of death was not given. "His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family," a rep for the actor previously told PEOPLE. "There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended."

His son Jason, 57, confirmed his father's death to the BBC, saying the James Bond icon was "unwell for some time."

Last August, on Connery's 89th birthday, Jason's longtime partner Fiona Ufton shared a heartwarming family photo of Jason and his beloved father. In the image, which is the most recent photo of the actor on social media, Connery playfully looks away from the camera with a slight smile on his face.

Connery was married twice — first to Australian actress Diane Cilento, whom he divorced in 1973. Cilento, who died of cancer at age 78 in 2011, shared son Jason with Connery. Then in 1975, Connery wed Roquebrune, who had three children from previous marriages, Oliver, Micha, and Stephane, all of whom became Connery's stepchildren.

Sean Connery and his Micheline Roquebrune in 1990
| Credit: Getty

In addition to the seven James Bond films he starred in over the course of his career, the Scotsman is most fondly remembered for two roles: Indiana Jones’ testy father in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as well as the doomed Irish cop in 1987’s The Untouchables — which he won an Academy Award for.

“Sean was a crafted actor who was enormously proud of his body of work, particularly his work on stage. And although he was a very no-nonsense person, he was incredibly inclusive with me professionally and personally,” Connery's The Untouchables costar Kevin Costner said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

In another touching tribute, fellow James Bond alum Pierce Brosnan remembered the actor as “my greatest James Bond.”

“You led the way for us all who followed in your iconic foot steps. Each man in his turn looked to you with reverence and admiration as we forged ahead with our own interpretations of the role,” he wrote in a touching tribute. “You were mighty in every way, as an actor and as a man, and will remain so till the end of time.”