John Cleese has paid tribute to his ''wonderfully kind'' ex-wife following her death from cancer.

The 72-year-old actor's second spouse, American actress Barbara Trentham, passed away aged 68 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on August 2 after suffering complications from leukaemia and the 'Fawlty Towers' star says she will be ''dearly missed''.

He said: ''Barbara was a wonderfully kind person and a superbly talented artist. She will be dearly missed.''

Former model Barbara - who dated Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson before meeting John at a 'Monty Python' show in 1980 - married the actor in early 1981, just five months after they met.

The couple - who have daughter Camilla, now 29, together - remained friends after they split in 1990.

The four-times married actor said soon after they separated: ''Babs and I have a really good friendship and that's the right relationship for us.''

After divorcing John, Barbara went on to marry attorney George Covington, while the veteran British star - who was first wed to Connie Booth - went on to tie the knot with psychotherapist Alyce Eichelberger, whom he split from in 2008 after 16 years of marriage.

Last August, he married current wife Jennifer Wade.