John Lennon's first wife Cynthia - the first of the Beatles' wives - has died at her home in Spain after a short battle with cancer. She was 75.

Cynthia LennonCynthia Lennon died in Spain after a short battle with cancer

A message on her son Julian's website said: "Her son Julian Lennon was at her bedside throughout. The family are thankful for your prayers. Please respect their privacy at this difficult time."

He also tweeted a picture of his mother inside a heart with the message "In Loving Memory."

More: Yoko Ono tweets photo of John Lennon's blood stained glasses

Cynthia met Lennon at art school in Liverpool in 1957 and the couple married shortly before The Beatles became internationally famous. She was famously kept in the background during the band's early success, to the point of which that many of Lennon's female admirers were unaware he was married.  

The couple divorced in 1968 after Cynthia discovered Lennon's relationship with the Japanese artist Yoko Ono.

Hunter Davies, who wrote the official biography of The Beatles, called Cynthia a "lovely woman," adding, "When I was writing the book I spent two years with them, visiting her home and spending time with her. She was totally different from John in that she was quiet and reserved and calm. She was not a hippy at all. 

More: Sir Paul McCartney and Kanye West are making an album together

"I think it was the attraction of opposites between them. When they got together at art school everyone was amazed - she was seen as refined and reserved and nobody thought they would last."

Cynthia remarried several times following her divorce from Lennon and published her memoirs of her time with him.

John's former band-mate Sir Paul McCartney paid tribute to the Blackpool born Lennon, writing, "The news of Cynthia's passing is very sad. She was a lovely lady who I've known since our early days together in Liverpool.

"She was a good mother to Julian and will be missed by us all but I will always have great memories of our times together."

More: Robin Thicke just performed Beatles songs in court