Australian actor and singer Johnny Ruffo has died six years after he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
The 35-year-old made his first appearance as character Chris Harrington in popular Australian soap Home And Away in 2013, two years after appearing in the final of The X Factor in Australia.
A statement on his official Instagram said: “It is with a heavy heart that today we had to farewell our beloved Johnny.
“Surrounded by his partner Tahnee and family, Johnny went peacefully with the support of some incredible nurses and doctors.”
The statement described Ruffo as a “very talented, charming and sometimes cheeky boy”.
In August 2017, Ruffo announced that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and was starting “aggressive treatment”.
“Johnny was very determined and had a strong will,” the statement continued.
“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. Rest easy.”
Among those mourning his death was Spice Girls singer Melanie Brown, who is a judge on Australia’s The Masked Singer.
“My heart just broke,” she commented on Instagram, before adding: “Sending my sincere condolences.”
Fellow Masked Singer judge’s comedian Dave Hughes wrote: “A (star emoji) has moved to the next world. Go well Johnny,” while Dannii Minogue described Ruffo as “the cheekiest chap”.
“His voice, smile and dancing feet will be missed by so many. Thinking of his family in this heart breaking time,” she added.
In a tribute on Instagram, Ruffo’s former Home And Away castmate Penny McNamee 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 Idol host Ricki-Lee Coulter posted three broken heart emojis on the post, while Neighbours actress Bonnie Anderson also commented: “What a man! You always knew how to light up a room Johnny!
“Sending ever hit of love to all of your loved ones! Absolutely heartbreaking.”
The Morning Show co-host Kylie Gillies also added: “Oh darling boy. Sending love to all who knew and loved you. And there are so many.”
Ruffo rose to fame as a contestant on The X Factor in Australia, placing third in the competition.
He later appeared on the Australian version of Dancing With The Stars which he won with professional partner Luda Kroitor, before landing a role on Home And Away in 2013 where he stayed for three years.
After announcing his brain cancer diagnosis in 2017, Ruffo underwent surgery to remove the tumour and revealed he was in remission two years later.
In November 2020 he announced on Instagram that his cancer had returned, before confirming his condition was terminal two years later, releasing his memoir No Finish Line in the same month.
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