Linda McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and her condition soon grew worse when the cancer metastasized to her liver. She died at the age of 56 on April 17, 1998, at the McCartney family ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Her family was with her when she died.
She was cremated in Tucson, and her ashes were scattered at the McCartney farm in Sussex, England. Her husband later suggested that fans remember her by donating to breast cancer research charities that do not support animal testing, “or the best tribute – go veggie.” A memorial service was held for her at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, which was attended by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Billy Joel, Elton John, David Gilmour, Peter Gabriel, and other celebrities among a congregation of 700. A memorial service was also held at Riverside Church in Manhattan, two months after her death. “She was my girlfriend,” McCartney said at her funeral. “I lost my girlfriend.”
She left all her property to Paul, including royalties from books or records, and all rights to her photos. He has pledged to continue her line of vegetarian food, and to keep it free from genetically modified organisms.
A few months after her death, the Edinburgh International Film Festival premiered Wide Prairie, a six-minute cartoon fantasy film she made with director Oscar Grillo.
In April 1999, Paul McCartney performed at the “Concert for Linda” tribute at the Royal Albert Hall, which had been organized by two of their friends, Chrissie Hynde and Carla Lane.
Among the artists that performed, besides Paul, were George Michael, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Tom Jones and Neil Finn.
Paul closed the concert by dedicating the event to Linda, whom he called his “beautiful baby,” and their children.
In January 2000, Paul announced donations in excess of $2,000,000 for cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, where Linda received treatment.
The donations, through the Garland Appeal, were made on the condition that no animals would be used for testing purposes.
Also in 2000, The Linda McCartney Centre, a cancer clinic, opened at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
In November 2002, the Linda McCartney Kintyre Memorial Trust opened a memorial garden in Campbeltown, the main town in Kintyre, with a bronze statue of her made by her cousin, sculptor Jane Robbins.