LONDON (AP) _ Linda McCartney, the American photographer wife of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has died from cancer, the star's publicist said Sunday. She was 56.

Geoff Baker said McCartney died on Friday at Santa Barbara, California. Her husband and children were with her.

``The blessing was that the end came quickly and she didn't suffer,'' a statement from Paul McCartney's office said. ``Two days previous to her death, Linda and Paul had been horse-riding, which was one of her main passions.''

The couple announced in December 1995 that McCartney, a keen vegetarian who marketed her own range of meat-free dishes, was being treated for breast cancer.

Sunday's statement said that the treatment appeared to be working well, but in March, the cancer was found to have spread to her liver.

It said the star will issue a statement later in the week and asked that people wanting to send flowers should give a donation to charities involved in cancer research, animal welfare, ``or - best of all - the tribute that Linda herself would like best: Go veggie.''

Linda Eastman was already acclaimed as the author of moody, gritty photographs when she Paul McCartney in 1969.

Their marriage was one of the longest in show business and produced three children, Mary, Stella and James.

Funeral details were not immediately available.