A week since the death of television icon Mary Tyler Moore, the star’s husband, Dr. S. Robert Levine, is finding solace through his grief in the knowledge that her legacy will influence new generations of young women, opening up for the first time since she died.

On January 25th, the beloved actress passed away at the age of 80, surrounded by friends and family. She had been hospitalised and dependent on a ventilator for a week previously, suffering from pneumonia brought on by complications in her decades-long battle with diabetes.

A number of Moore’s friends and family – including New York-based cardiologist Levine, to whom she had been married for 33 years – remembered her for a cover feature for the new issue of People magazine.

Mary Tyler MooreAmerican TV icon Mary Tyler Moore passed away last week at the age of 80

“I can’t believe she is gone. Mary was my life, my light, my love. The emptiness I feel without her with me is without bottom. She was a force of nature who fiercely defended her autonomy even as her health was failing. Mary was fearless, determined, and wilful. If she felt strongly about something, or that there was truth to be told, she would do it, no matter the consequences.”

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Moore was married twice before she met Levine: firstly, to producer Richard Meeker, with whom she had her only child, a son named Ritchie; and then to TV executive Grant Tinker. In 1982, two years after Ritchie lost his life to an accidental gunshot wound, she met Levine.

“She was kind, genuine, approachable, honest, and humble. And she had that smile. Oh, to see her smile that smile, just once more… My sadness is only tempered by the remarkable outpouring of good wishes, tributes, and personal ‘Mary stories’ told, with heart, by those touched by her grace,” Levine’s tribute continued.

“As long as we all remember her, talk about her, share our stories about her, and what she meant to us, her light will never go out.”

More: American television icon Mary Tyler Moore has died at the age of 80