Bert Newton, a legend of Australian TV and radio, has died at age 83.
Newton was a Logie Hall of Fame inductee, quadruple Gold Logie-winning entertainer and a radio, theatre and television personality and presenter.
He first appeared on radio at the age of 14 and at the age of 20 he joined 9News in its Melbourne bureau.
Nine’s Director of Television Michael Healy said Newton was a “giant of our industry, entertaining generations of Australians across our television screens”.
“He brought unbridled joy and laughter into our homes as part of so many programs, partnerships and formats,” Healy said.
“He was loved by us all at Nine and we wish Patti, Lauren, Matt and their families our sincere condolences at this sad time.”
Newton had been battling complications since surgery to have his leg amputated in May.
One appearance on the evening program, Melbourne Tonight, led to one of television’s greatest partnerships – Newton and Graham Kennedy.
Over the next decade, Newton honed his skills in reacting to anything and everything that live television could deliver.
Kennedy not only gave Newton his most enduring on-air partnership, but named the awards that Newton made his own – the Logies.
In his record 19 times as host, his mastery of off-the-cuff quips, knowing looks and careful pauses made him look like a schoolboy sharing the joke with the audience.
His second great on-air partnership came in 1975 with Don Lane, on the Don Lane Show.
While professional partnerships would make his name in the industry, one personal partnership would outlast them all.
Patti McGrath was a singer and entertainer when the pair started dating in the early 1960s.
By the time they married in 1974, policemen had to control crowds outside St Dominic’s Church in Camberwell.
And from that day on, they would always be known as Bert and Patti.
He is survived by Patti and their children Lauren and Matthew and extended family.
As the news was confirmed on Saturday night, former colleagues and notable public figures shared their memories of Newton from his six-decade career on social media.
2GB Drive host Jim Wilson recalled growing up with the “legendary” host, who he described as a “national treasure” in the media industry.
Fellow 2GB radio host Chris Smith remembered Newton’s “incredible empathy for those doing it tough”.
Newton has his leg amputated in May this year – a decision wife Patti said was “huge”.
He developed an infection in his toe and at the time, Patti said her husband was faced with a choice – and he chose to live so he could watch his grandchildren grow up.
“It was a very big day for everybody. It was needed and he had a choice and his choice was to live.
“He had to go through all this and he has the support of all his family.
“We have gathered around him a lot and it’s mainly for the grandchildren because he wants to watch them grow.”
Patti said he was a “very strong man”.
“He’s in really good spirits,” she said.
“He’s got a big journey ahead of him, as we all have.
“But you know Bert, onward and upward. I’m sure he will be fine, we are hoping anyway.
“It’s early days, so we just have to take it a day at a time.”
Newton had suffered numerous health issues after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2012.
He had also suffered through several bouts of pneumonia over the last few years.
“I am super proud of him, mainly because a lot of people wouldn’t have chosen to do this,” Patti said.