Sir Tom Jones reportedly broke down in tears as he described the pain of losing his wife Linda at his first public appearance since her death.

The singer said coming to terms with the loss was "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life" in an appearance at the Hay literary festival.

He said that it was only afterwards that he realised she "might have been the most important thing in my life".

" I realise even more now, how important she was to me," he said, according to reports from The Daily Telegraph.

Linda and Tom Jones were married for 59 years Credit: PA

Sir Tom and his wife were childhood sweethearts who enjoyed 59 years of marriage until her sudden death from cancer in April this year.

She stuck by the singer despite unashamed womanising, with the singer admitting that at one stage he slept with 250 groupies a year.

Sir Tom is said to have broken down today as he insisted that the pair "never" considered divorce.

He also recalled that his wife had comforted him and told him to carry on with his music in a conversation shortly before her death.

"Don’t worry, you’ll be alright," she told him, according to Jones. "Don’t worry about it. Just go forward."