Gene Wilder’s widow recalls his very last words

Gene Wilder's widow has opened up about caring for the actor as he struggled with Alzheimer disease for the last six years of his life.

The Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory star passed away in August 2016 at the age of 83 and his wife was by his side as his caregiver until the very end.

In an essay for ABC news this week Karen Wilder details the couple's 35-year marriage and Gene's heartbreaking decline as the disease took hold.

Gene Wilder's widow Karen has penned a personal essay detailing the actor's battle with Alzheimer's disease for the last six years of his life

Gene Wilder's widow Karen has penned a personal essay detailing the actor's battle with Alzheimer's disease for the last six years of his life

'I never pictured myself marrying a movie star. I also never saw myself spending years of my life taking care of one. But I've done both. Love was the reason for the first. Alzheimer's disease, the second,' Karen wrote.

Karen, who used to be a speech pathologist, had met Gene when he had come to her office to research his role as a deaf character in See No Evil, Hear No Evil.

At the time the actor was still married to Gilda Radner but after she died from ovarian cancer he reconnected with Karen and they married a year later.

'For more than twenty years, we were one of the happiest couples I knew,' Karen wrote.

The Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory star (pictured in 1971) passed away in August 2016 at the age of 83. His wife was by his side as his caregiver until the very end

The Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory star (pictured in 1971) passed away in August 2016 at the age of 83. His wife was by his side as his caregiver until the very end

'For more than twenty years, we were one of the happiest couples I knew,' Karen wrote an essay for ABC news. The couple are pictured at the 2007 U.S. Open

'For more than twenty years, we were one of the happiest couples I knew,' Karen wrote an essay for ABC news. The couple are pictured at the 2007 U.S. Open

After his diagnosis in 2010, Karen was forced to watch as her husband's memory and motor skills deteriorated.

'The synapses of his brain were getting tangled and the result would be a steady and terrible progression of losses -- memory of course, but also motor control, to the point where eventually his body would

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