Luciano Pavarotti's widow is fighting to halt the publication of a tell-all memoir by the opera legend's former personal assistant.

Nicoletta Mantovani, the singer's second wife, has threatened legal action in a bid to block the release of a book by Edwin Tinoco, who enjoyed a 12-year friendship with the late star, who died in 2007.

Publisher Carlo Bonacini has revealed he sent a draft manuscript to Mantovani to read, but received a legal letter back from her lawyer threatening to sue if the book is published.

He tells Britain's The Sunday Times, "The warning notice was nothing specific - they don't want anything to come out about Luciano Pavarotti. I hope we can overcome this... If they want to change something, we'll change it. I don't know why there is this fear."

Tinoco says of the book, which is titled The Maestro and I: Twelve Years with the World's Greatest Tenor, "I often mention events involving the family, but there is no gossip."

Pavarotti lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2007, aged 71.