The actor recently filmed his final scenes as Weatherfield's Jack Duckworth after more than 30 years in the role. His final moments on the cobbles are expected to air next month.
Speaking to The Mirror about his departure, Tarmey commented: "It has been one hell of a ride. But it has come to an end. You wouldn't believe, kid, how hard it has been for me to leave the Street. That place has been my family for 30 years. Leaving has been painful."
He continued: "Retiring was a very hard decision to make. It wasn't just like retiring from a normal job. I was also bringing to an end a character who has become known and loved across the country. But the time had come."
The 69-year-old added that ill health made life difficult for him on set towards the end of his Corrie career, because he has hearing problems, extreme breathing difficulties and often feels tired as he suffers from a sleep disorder named sleep apnea.
Tarmey said: "The sleep apnea was a real problem. I was waking all through the night and then my body clock was getting me up at five in the morning. Granada were very obliging and wouldn't put me in early morning or late night scenes, but I just felt knackered."
The star releases his new autobiography Jack Duckworth and Me on October 14.