Patti Newton has expressed her “heartbreak” at losing the love of her life, Bert.

Speaking for the first since since his death on Saturday, the 76-year-old told Daily Mail that she was notified of his death shortly after leaving his side.

“I missed him, but maybe he didn’t want me to be there for his last breath,” she said outside the family home in Melbourne.

“I left [Bert’s palliative care centre] at ten past seven, and I was just pulling around to come into my drive and I get the call to say he’d taken his last breath at 7.22pm,” she added.

“It’s very, very devastating. All our hearts are breaking because he was just the most wonderful man”.

Patti said she hoped her late husband “will be remembered for the legend that he was.”

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“He had such a fabulous attitude. And he gave us so much joy right up to the end.

“I love that attitude of his, he was never going to give up and that’s what we have to take with us. We have to just make sure that the love he gave us stays with us forever”.

Patti, who was married to Bert for 47 years, revealed the family’s pain, telling the publication: “It’s hard. It’s hard for this age group Lauren [their daughter] and Eva [granddaughter] were out to dinner last night, just having a quick little girls’ meal.

“I rang and poor Eva had to come, she didn’t go in, we felt that was too much for her.

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“I can’t get that out of my mind, really, but I have to think that he’s at peace and he’s not in pain.”

Following news of the legendary television personality’s death, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that a state funeral would take place.

“Bert Newton was an icon, a larrikin and a born entertainer. We have never known TV without Bert – he was there from the beginning. From black and white to colour – as TV changed, Bert endured,” he said.

“He lived his life on the silver screen — and we welcomed his wit and humour into our homes.

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“As we reflect on his legacy in the coming days, we’ll all be reminded of his legendary partnerships with Graham Kennedy and Don Lane. For so many, those partnerships are as inseparable as they are memorable.

“He brought the Logies to life during TV’s golden era. And while TV was always his anchor, Bert was also a star on radio and the stage — performing in some of our most iconic musicals including Phantom of the Opera and the Rocky Horror Picture Show among others.

“But above all his achievements, he was a family man and his greatest partnership was with his wife of almost 50 years, Patti. Our thoughts and prayers are with her, their children and their grandchildren.

“We will all have an opportunity to honour his memory, his talent and his achievements at a state funeral – details will be shared in the coming days. Bert will live on in the memories of an entire generation. Gone, but never forgotten.

“Vale Bert Newton.”