ARTIST and Oxford academic Dr Rachel Owen – the long term former wife of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke – has died, after losing a battle with cancer.

Dr Owen was a respected photographer and printmaker and an expert in medieval Italian literature, employed as a retained lecturer in Italian at Pembroke College, Oxford.

She died on Sunday. She was 48.

Dr Owen and Mr Yorke separated last year after more than 20 years together. They had two children, Noah, 15, and Agnes, 12.

Their break-up influenced Radiohead’s most recent album, A Moon Shaped Pool.

In a tribute to the scholar, Pembroke College said: "Dr Owen’s parallel passion for art and literature was already established in her university years at Exeter, where she studied Italian and Fine Art. She then moved to Royal Holloway, London, where she completed a PhD on the illustrations of the early manuscripts of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

"Each year, her Pembroke students enjoyed the pleasure and the privilege of a guided tour through the manuscripts of the Divine Comedy held at the Bodleian Library.

"Despite her declining health from cancer in the last year, she asked to continue to teach, which she did right until the end of last Michaelmas term."

The college said that one of Dr Owen's most recent artistic productions – a series of prints inspired by Dante’s first book of the Divine Comedy – would be exhibited at Pembroke’s JCR Art Gallery.

*At the request of Pembroke College, and out of respect for Dr Owen's family and friends, the Oxford Mail withheld publication of a photograph of Dr Owen until permission had been received from the photographer. That permission was granted today.