Anjelica Huston has opened up about her husband's death in 2008 for the first time, calling the tragedy "the hardest thing" she has ever experienced.

The actress' artist partner Robert Graham suffered a heart attack in the summer of 2008, and finally succumbed to illness in December that year.

The Addams Family star admits that she felt helpless watching the sculptor struggle and was devastated when he passed away.

In a recent TV chat with Rosie O'Donnell on Piers Morgan Tonight. she explained: "(His death) was fast and prolonged at the same time. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which was a bad diagnosis... His body started to swell (on steroid drugs) and it was rather alarming for about four days. Actually it was the night of the Olympics on August the ninth, about three o'clock in the morning, he sprang up from the bed and (had a) full heart attack and kidney failure.

"I didn't know what was going on... He got through nine weeks in the hospital, and then came out and was in rehab and then came home... Then he just started to die and there seemed to be nothing that we could do, just to be there and hold his hand.

"At the end he asked me if he was dying and I said, 'No, of course not,' but I don't know. There's no guide book for these things. You have to do what's in your heart and what you feel is right. It's one of the hardest things I've ever been through... You can make peace with it maybe, and hope that you did the right thing but there's no way of knowing."

Huston added: "He was very funny, a very subtle person. Loved you by the way, thought you were great," to which the comedienne replied, "Quite mutual... He was probably the most charming man I've ever known."