Rachel and Thom, 48, were together for 23 years before splitting in August last year (15). They have two children together, son Noah, 15 and daughter, Agnes, 12.

According to an obituary posted on the website of Oxford University's Pembroke College, Rachel, an artist and Italian scholar, passed away on Sunday (18Dec16) after a battle with cancer.

"It is with great sadness that the College marks the death of Dr Rachel Owen, who was a Retained Lecturer in Italian here at Pembroke," the obituary read. "Dr Owen was an internationally renowned artist - mixing photography and printmaking - and at the same time a scholar in medieval Italian literature."

Despite her illness the academic, who was an expert on Dante Alighieri’s epic medieval poem the Divine Comedy, continued teaching until the beginning of December. She shunned the limelight and was rarely seen in public with her rock star partner.

Radiohead released their latest album A Moon Shaped Pool in May this year, with a number of critics attributing some melancholy sounding songs and lyrics to the end of the frontman's relationship.

Thom is yet to publicly comment on his longtime partner's passing.