One of New Zealand's youngest asbestos cancer sufferers, Deanna Trevarthen, has died at the age of 45.
The Auckland woman battled the incurable cancer for a year longer than doctors expected.
She passed away yesterday surrounded by family and in the arms of long-term partner Greg Robertson.
Robertson told the Herald Deanna "passed away in peace, without pain."
"Dee faced death as she lived life; smiling and with absolute determination," Robertson said.
"She never allowed this incurable disease to take her dignity, and it's a testament to her qualities that in the last days of her life she was more concerned about me than herself."
Robertson said Deanna was his "soulmate and best friend."
"Up against the nastiest of cancers she smiled.
"She never gave in and it was only her body that stopped her fight."
Cancer specialists treating Deanna believe she was exposed to the deadly asbestos fibres as a 10-year-old through her electrician father's work.
The most likely scenario was that she inhaled fibres when hugging her father or when helping him at work.
She applied for ACC cover but was declined because she wasn't employed in an asbestos risk industry.
The couple fought for cover and went to court to argue Deanna's case but lost.
Robertson, said there was no doubt Deanna accidentally inhaled the deadly asbestos fibres, and said linking compensation to employment was unfair and outdated.
He said the time ACC had to review evidence was too long when dealing with a fast-moving disease like cancer.
The pair called on family, fundraised and borrowed money to self-fund expensive rounds of cancer drug Keytruda.
"Fighting asbestos cancer has cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars," Robertson said.
Expensive rounds of Keytruda had "provided a miracle" and given Deanna almost a year longer than expected.
Large tumours on Trevarthen's back had almost disappeared and a "tricky" tumour on her lung was improved enough for doctors to treat it with radiation.
The cancer returned two months ago.
In the end the disease Deanna fought so hard to beat, proved itself incurable.
Robertson said despite the agony of losing his soulmate he was glad to have had his time with Deanna.
He said he would keep fighting on her behalf and for future asbestos cancer sufferers.
"I'm a better person because of Dee. I love her so much. My heart is broken," he said.
" I see her everywhere I turn."