Performance artist Laurie Anderson was by Reed’s side when he lost his battle with his illness at their home in a rural New York town on Sunday.
In an open letter to her neighbours, Anderson revealed that Reed, 71, spent his final days doing tai chi and revelling in the beauty of Autumn.
She said that in Reeds final moments, he was "looking at the trees and doing ... tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air".
And she declared that “the pain and beauty” in her late husband’s music would endure among music fans.
"His songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life," she said.
She told her neighbours of how she had promised Reed she would take him home from hospital when doctors told him there was nothing else they could do for him following a liver transplant earlier this year.
Anderson’s full letter reads: "To our neighbors: What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us. Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we're city people this is our spiritual home."
She adds, "Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it! Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air."
She added: "Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us."