Andy Fordham’s widow says the darts hero’s decision to quit boozing bought them 14 more years together.
The gentle giant died from organ failure in July, aged 59.
Now, in her first interview, cancer survivor Jenny has told how she ordered him to get on the wagon.
She told her husband: “You’ve got a choice. Go and have a drink, but go and find somewhere else to drink it because I’m not going to watch you die.
“I told him, ‘When I had cancer I got up every day, I put my make-up on and I worked. I didn’t know if I was going to survive. They told you, stop drinking and you will be all right, you will live’.”
Jenny, 58, who ran The Rose pub in Dartford with Andy, said he was transformed when he kicked his habit, which once saw him sink 77 bottles of beer in a day.
The grieving grandmother-of-eight added: “There were tears and a few words were said, and then in the morning he woke a completely different person.
"It was amazing when he stopped drinking. He turned everything around. Everyone was like, ‘It’s like having a new man’.”
Jenny gave Andy her ultimatum after he was rushed to hospital in 2007 and told his liver was on the verge of failing.
A strict diet helped the 6ft star shift 16 stone of his 32 stone bulk.
But Jenny will always cherish the 42 years with Andy and how he made her “laugh like a teenager”.
She said he was still cracking jokes in his final days.
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Jenny added: “Even after it was in the papers that Andy had passed away people were texting his phone asking him to ring.
“In the end, one afternoon, I replied to one of the messages saying, ‘Really sorry. Can’t talk. I’m dead’.
“After I sent that, I could picture Andy laughing his head off and it made me feel closer to him.
“I’d give anything to hear him laugh one final time. He was the love of my life and I can’t believe he’s gone.”
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