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Packer's last words to his son

Death gives most people perspective. When facing his end, the tough and, at times, ‘‘terrifying’’ Kerry Packer took the opportunity to tell his son, James, something every parent should say to their child.

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James Packer: My father was proud of me

In an emotional interview on Channel Seven's Sunday Night program, James Packer says his father was often 'terrifying' but that his last words were that he should live his own life

‘‘He said he loved me, he said he was proud of me,’’ James Packer said.

In an emotional interview on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night, the only son of the media mogul spoke of the ‘‘beautiful call’’ he received from his father in the days before his death.

During the hour-long conversation, Kerry Packer also told his son he should carve his own path in life.

‘‘Twenty-four hours later, his doctor rang me and said, ‘Get on a plane, he’s only got 24 hours to live’,’’ said Mr Packer, who broke down as he recounted the conversation.


‘‘I got home and held his hand and he passed,’’ he said.

Up until that point, Mr Packer said he found his father ‘‘terrifying’’.

‘‘I always got a bit jumpy when dad called because I didn’t know if it was going to be a good call or a bad call,’’ he said.

‘‘My dad was a larger-than-life character and I’m not going to say every minute or every hour we spent together was a highlight.’’

While Mr Packer admitted the pair did not have a perfect relationship, it was a ‘‘huge privilege to be his son’’, he said.

‘‘One of the true joys of my life is that my father and I ended in a perfect spot.’’

Kerry Packer died of kidney failure on Boxing Day, 2005, aged 68.

Mr Packer also got emotional when he spoke of his friendship with actor Tom Cruise, which established itself after the breakdown of his first marriage to designer Jodhi Meares in 2002 and the collapse of telecommunications company One.Tel a year earlier.

‘‘There is no doubt that One.Tel was a terrible investment and something that I regret greatly,’’ he said.

Mr Packer said Fairfax Media, publisher of the The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, had been ‘‘very hard’’ on him when One.Tel went bankrupt.

‘‘You can understand that, it was a lot of money and I was leading it,’’ he said.

At the time, Mr Packer said he was ‘‘depressed and emotionally exhausted’’.

‘‘My marriage had broken up. I felt like a failure.

‘‘When I was at my lowest, Tom Cruise reached out to me. He believed in me when other people didn’t.

‘‘I think he’s a very special person,’’ he said.