Australian actor and singer Johnny Ruffo, known for appearing on popular Australian TV series “Home and Away” and X Factor Australia, has died of brain cancer at the age of 35.
“It is with a heavy heart that today we had to farewell our beloved Johnny,” reads a statement posted Friday on his official Instagram account.
“Surrounded by his partner Tahnee and family, Johnny went peacefully with the support of some incredible Nurses & Doctors,” it continued.
“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,” the statement said.
“We all love you Johnny and will remember you for all the joy you brought to our lives,” it added, signing off with, “Rest easy.”
Members of the “Home and Away” cast commented under the post with their “love” and reflected on their time working with him on the series.
Actress Penny McNamee, who plays Tori Morgan, wrote, “Oh Johnny. He was the first cast member I ever met on @homeandaway and he was instantly warm, funny and self-deprecating. What joy he brought to the world. Sending all my love to Tahnee, and all Johnny’s family and friends.”
Australian TV soap actress Georgie Parker, who plays Roo Stewart, said, “Sending love to Johnny’s family, friends and loved ones. He was truly one in a million, funny, bright and such a hard worker. It’s ridiculously cruel that he’s no longer here. Rest up now Johnny.”
Actress Sophie Dillman, who plays Ziggy Astoni, said, “Such a beautiful soul.”
Other celebrities also shared their thoughts, with Australian singer and TV personality Dannii Minogue replying to the post saying, “The cheekiest chap. His voice, smile and dancing feet will be missed by so many. Thinking of his family in this heart breaking time.”
Former Spice Girl Mel B, who was a judge on X Factor Australia when Ruffo was a contestant, also replied to the post saying, “My heart just broke.”
Ruffo was a finalist on X Factor Australia in 2011, after which he rose to national prominence and signed a record label with Sony, according to CNN affiliate Seven News.
He released his debut single “On Top,” followed by “Take It Home,” in 2012. He was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” the same year.
Ruffo then portrayed the character of Chris Harrington in the long-running series “Home and Away” in 307 episodes between 2013 to 2016, according to IMDb.
He also appeared in TV mini-series “House of Bond” in 2017, and as prison guard Owen Campbell in four episodes of Australian soap opera “Neighbours” in 2022.
’27 staples across my hairline’
Ruffo revealed in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and had undergone surgery to remove a tumor, according to Seven News, and two years later he announced the cancer had gone into remission.
However, in a post on Instagram in November 2020, he revealed that the cancer had returned.
“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, though i will dig deep and beat this shit disease again,” he wrote.
In a follow-up post in December that year, he thanked everyone for their “support,” saying, “You guys have helped keep my spirits high and you keep me fighting,” before adding, “Let’s smash this chemo.”
In August last year, Ruffo released his book “No Finish Line,” in which he documented his experience of fighting cancer.
He described waking up in the ICU in a Sydney hospital in 2017, having had a tumor “the size of a tennis ball” removed: “For starters, I could barely speak, and I had tubes coming out of my skull – as well as a row of 27 staples across my hairline that fully made me look like I was closely related to Frankenstein or, as Home and Away’s Lynne McGranger once described, ‘A character from Doctor Who.’”
He wrote that before then he was “29, madly in love, working on shows and music that I was proud of, and still finding time to party with friends.”
According to Australia’s national broadcaster ABC, Ruffo had stage 3 oligodendroglioma.
Oligodendrogliomas account for 2 to 5% all primary brain tumors, according to The Brain Tumour Charity in the U.K.