Hepworth enjoyed major acclaim towards the end of her life. In 1965, she became a dame and the Tate’s first female trustee. Three years later, the preeminent museum granted her a major retrospective.
While Hepworth continued to sculpt, her body was breaking down. She was afflicted with tongue cancer and suffered from mobility problems. In 1975, she fell asleep while smoking a cigarette at her Trewyn studio in St Ives. The building burned, and Hepworth died inside.