‘Beautiful soul’: Home and Away’s Johnny Ruffo dies

Ruffo posted this photo of himself being treated for his cancer in July.

Ruffo posted this photo of himself being treated for his cancer in July. Photo: Instagram/Johnny Ruffo

Singer and former Home and Away actor Johnny Ruffo has died, after his long battle with cancer.

Ruffo, 35, was best known for playing Chris Harrington on the Seven Network show.

Before that, he shot to fame with as the “singing concreter from Perth” in the 2011 X Factor, where he came third. He was also later a Dancing With The Stars contestant.

In a statement posted to his Instagram on Friday, Ruffo’s family said he died surrounded by his loved ones and partner Tahnee Sims.

“It is with a heavy heart that today we had to farewell our beloved Johnny,” it read.

“Johnny went peacefully with the support of some incredible nurses and doctors.

“He was a very talented, charming and sometimes cheeky boy. Johnny was very determined and had a strong will. He battled all the way to the end and fought as hard as he could. Such a beautiful soul with so much more to give.

“We all love you Johnny and will remember you for all the joy you brought to our lives.”

Perth-born Ruffo was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017, a year after he left Home and Away. He had surgery to remove a seven-centimetre tumour, which was discovered only when he sought treatment for a migraine.

The surgery left him with 27 staples in his head and was followed by extensive chemotherapy.

“The day that it truly sunk in was maybe, I don’t know, three or four weeks into radiotherapy. I was at home one day, and I was watching television, and I just went to, like this, just scratch my hair, and I pulled my hand forward and I had a whole clump of hair in my hand, and I just broke down and I cried and cried and cried,” he said.

In 2019, he announced he was clear of the disease, only for it to return a year later.

“After an unexpected week of seizures and excruciating headaches it is with a heavy heart that I have to let you know I now have another huge battle ahead of me as my brain cancer has returned,” Ruffo wrote.

“I will dig deep and beat this s— disease again.”

But in August last year, he told The Project’s then host Carrie Bickmore that his cancer was terminal.

More than 36,000 people had responded to Ruffo’s family’s update by Friday afternoon. Among the many leaving condolence messages, was one from Scary Spice Mel B, and another from singer Jason Owens, another X Factor alumni.

“You will be missed mate. A true fighter, gentleman and a great friend to us all. Thank you for the bravery, courage and support you gave me and many others,” wrote Owens.

Actor Nick Giannopoulos said Ruffo was “one of the bravest souls I’ve ever met”.

“Always with a smile on your face and a positive attitude. You helped give courage and strength to so many all over the world. Rest in peace, my friend,” he wrote.

Former AFL star Joel Selwood said it was “very sad. What a fighter”, while singer-songwriter Casey Barnes said Ruffo could “light up a room like no other”.

“Gonna miss ya, mate,” he wrote.

Topics: Cancer, TV
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