Tom Jones’ Wife Loses Battle With Cancer

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Tom Jones + Wife - Belfast Telegraph

Jones and his wife, Melinda, in an undated photograph

Condolences to Sir Tom Jones whose wife of 59 years, Lady Melinda Rose Woodward, has lost her “short but fierce” battle with cancer. She was 75. A brief statement on the Welsh singer’s Facebook page notes she passed away Sunday morning, April 10, 2016, surrounded by her husband and loved ones at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. (Jones’ last name is Woodward.)

The post continues: “Sir Tom and his family have asked for privacy at this difficult time and no further information is currently available.” Jones, also 75, had abruptly canceled his entire Asian tour last week when it was reported that there was a serious illness of a member of his immediate family.

The couple stayed together 59 years after they married when they were both 16 years old, and Melinda, also known as Linda, was pregnant with their son, Mark (who manages the singer’s career). His infidelities throughout their marriage were a matter of public record. He once bragged that he bedded 250 groupies a year. Jones was reportedly linked with singer Mary Wilson of the Supremes and former Miss World Marjorie Wallace, and had a son with model Katherine Berkery in the 1980s.

One of many U.K. and European tour dates listed as of April 11 on Jones' concert itinerary

One of many U.K. and European tour dates listed as of April 11 on Jones’ concert itinerary

Yet he also remained emotionally devoted to his wife.  In his recent autobiography, Over the Top and Back, Jones wrote about his love for her and how he “never had that feeling for anyone else… I don’t think you can fall in love more than once.

“She is an unbelievable woman,” Jones recently said. “She’s the most important thing in my life. All the rest is just fun and games.”

Jones has had 19 Top 40 singles in the U.S. and sold some 100 million records worldwide. A fan of American blues and soul singers and Elvis Presley (the two later became friends), he was seen in a club in his native Wales in 1964 by manager Gordon Mills, who helped shepherd Jones to international fame. He broke through in the U.S. as part of the British Invasion when “It’s Not Unusual” went Top 10. He also scored hits with the themes for the films What’s New Pussycat? (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) and Thunderball. He went on to win the 1966 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

His other hits include “She’s A Lady,” “Green, Green Grass of Home” and “Delilah.” Jones hosted a variety show, This Is Tom Jones, that aired on ABC-TV from 1969 to 1971. Though his presence on the U.S. pop charts faded by the 1980s, he continued to place songs in the American country charts throughout that decade. In recent decades he has continued to win new and younger listeners with his recordings of cover songs like Prince’s “Kiss” and Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” as well as his own co-written tune “Sex Bomb” and albums produced by Wyclef Jean and Jack White. He was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.

While the Asian dates have been canceled, his website shows U.K. and European tour dates beginning in June. It’s certainly too early to speculate if and when the singer may resume touring: Jones had previously said that if his wife died, he wouldn’t be able to perform anymore.

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