Alvin Stardust's wife has opened up about the glam rocker's secret cancer battle, insisting he knew he was dying when he co-wrote his pop comeback album earlier this year (14).

The My Coo Ca Choo hitmaker passed away on Thursday (23Oct14) aged 72, following a battle with prostate cancer. He had kept his 18-month battle with the disease a secret and continued to perform onstage until just days before his death.

His wife Julie recalls his final performance to the Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, saying, "The cancer was in his spine and his back was so painful, he couldn't stand for long... only his family and a few close friends knew... He didn't say anything earlier because if everyone had been wonderful and kind to him, he wouldn't have been able to go onstage because it would have been too emotional."

Julie reveals the cancer symptoms had been present for several years but nothing was found during his first check-up with the doctor. Aggressive cancerous lesions were found on his spine when he was diagnosed 18 months ago and they were too advanced to be removed.

She adds, "He sailed through the first round of chemotherapy - but the second round wasn't so good. That's why it all went pear-shaped, because his bone marrow never really recovered properly. He wasn't strong enough because the cancer was getting to him."

Stardust, real name Bernard Jewry, was planning to make a pop comeback with his first album in 30 years in November (14) and the two tracks dedicated to Julie will now play at his funeral at a church in Swansea, Wales.

She adds, "He knew when he wrote it he was dying... They stopped the chemotherapy in July... August wasn't so good. He was getting very stiff. The last eight weeks it's been worse. He's been in constant pain."

On Monday (20Oct14), three days before his death, Stardust learned the cancer had spread to his liver.

The release of his new album has been brought forward to next week (begs27Oct14).

Julie was Stardust's third wife. They have one daughter together.