Lynda Bellingham's heartbroken husband said he wanted people to remember his wife for her acting rather than "as a celebrity".
The star, best known for her long-running role as the mother in the Oxo TV adverts, had colon cancer which later spread to her lungs and liver and died yesterday aged 66.
Bellingham, who was diagnosed with cancer last July, said she decided to end her treatment on August 13 to limit the amount of suffering her family would witness and had said she wanted one more Christmas at home with her family.
But Michael Pattemore said the advanced state of her illness meant it was clear she would have been unable to die at home as she dearly wished.
He told Yours magazine, for which his late wife was a columnist: "She was in too much pain and they didn't have it under control enough for me to be able to look after her."
Mr Pattemore added: "I just want her to be remembered as an actress more than anything - not as a celebrity or one of the Loose Women.
"She started her career as an actress and never thought of herself as a celebrity. She's always been an actress."
Fighting back tears, he said: "I can tell you now that the words on her gravestone will be 'The curtain went up on May 31 1948, and the final curtain went down on October 19 2014'."
Her agent Sue Latimer announced her death today, saying: "Lynda died peacefully in her husband's arms yesterday evening at a London hospital. Her family, to whom she was devoted, would like to thank the nurses and staff for their tremendous care and support.
"As an actor, writer and presenter, Lynda was a consummate professional to the very end.
"Those of us privileged to have known her personally will miss the entertaining, life-enhancing, true and honest friend that blessed our lives."
Her Loose Women co-stars paid tearful tribute to her on the show only hours after her death was announced.
Co-host Coleen Nolan said: "It's so hard not to be sad and the only thing I think will get me through the day is I can almost feel her behind me whacking me, saying 'get on with it'."
Jane McDonald, who appeared on the show with Bellingham, said: "She would be mortified if we were all sad and weeping and wailing because Lynda was the fun, fabulous amazing person".
Bellingham's acting career included the title role in sitcom Faith In The Future and regular stage roles.
She filmed a special farewell episode of Loose Women, which will air on Wednesday, in which she received a standing ovation.
Kaye Adams, who also worked on the programme, said Bellingham was "an incredibly courageous person".
She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "She just had such an energy and a dynamism and you were just always pleased to see her and always felt she was pleased to see you, which is a fabulous thing to be able to do.
"She always left you feeling better about life."
She added: "I think a lot of people will be thinking of her so fondly this morning and thinking 'God, Lynda, you are incredible'."
Bellingham was asked recently how she would like to be remembered and said she wanted to be thought of as an honest person.
Adams said: "That's one of the many ways that she will be remembered - honest, generous, kind, courageous, intelligent, thoughtful, all of those things."
Bellingham's decision to end her treatment was revealed in a newspaper serialisation of her forthcoming autobiography.
She said: "The decision to give up chemo was a huge relief because I took back some control of myself. It's there on the table if I want it.
"I don't want the boys or my husband to see me die a little sad old lady. I want to go out there as I am."
She said she wanted her autobiography to be "uplifting", adding: "I wrote the book for everybody out there.
"It's not supposed to be an embarrassing account of me having terminal cancer.
"I wanted to write it for everybody who is given that curveball and say of course there are no answers but, if you can, take it and make it positive and talk about dying.
"If two people read this book and think 'Actually, that's how I feel and I'm not on my own', then I'll have done something half-decent."
Her death came just 10 days after the publication of her memoir.
Bellingham was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list for her charity work.
The mother-of-two appeared as the mother in a squabbling family in the Oxo adverts since the 1980s.
Bellingham, whose sister Barbara died from lung cancer, had been a high-profile supporter of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.
The actress, who was adopted, published a best-selling memoir, Lost And Found, which dealt with her search for her birth mother.
She also wrote a novel, Tell Me Tomorrow, which was published last year.
Bellingham married her third husband, property developer Michael Pattemore, on her 60th birthday.
Her Loose Women co-presenter Nadia Sawalha, who also appeared with her in the Oxo adverts, paid tribute to a "brilliant actress".
She said Bellingham told her fellow Loose Women panellists: "'Please, when I'm gone, have a big party for me and have a dance' and that's Lynda through and through."
The oncologist who treated Bellingham, Professor Justin Stebbing of Imperial College, said: "Lynda was a hugely brave, inspirational woman and she will be very missed.
"But throughout her illness she handled it with tremendous dignity and courage, and she also emphasised that cancer care is not just about killing the cancer and giving chemotherapy. It's about treating the whole patient, all of their wishes, psychological, spiritual, emotional, as well as the physical."
The professor of cancer medicine and oncology told 5 News: "She was always very cheerful and chirpy and always had a smile on her face and had a lot to say. She was just a very brave and inspirational woman and a lot of the staff here, all the nurses, are all very sad today."