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Newsreader Ian Ross dies aged 73

Long-time colleague Peter Overton remembers the compelling "integrity and warmth" of veteran news anchor for Nine News and Channel Seven, Ian Ross. Vision: Nine News.

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Veteran television newsreader Ian Ross has died at the age of 73. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The former newsman, who revealed the illness only in January this year, died last night in a Gold Coast hospital, friends have confirmed to Fairfax Media.

Ian Ross.

Former Seven newsreader Ian Ross has died after a long struggle with cancer. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Channel Seven journalist Chris Reason, who worked with Ross at the station, tweeted on Wednesday morning that Ross had died.

A statement from Seven said: "The entire team at Seven News is deeply saddened by the death of our wonderful colleague, friend and mentor, Ian Ross.

"Roscoe - as he is known to everyone - delivered Sydney's Seven News for seven years before he retired in 2009.

Ian Ross and Gray at Ian’s farewell from Seven News in 2009.

Ian Ross and partner Gray Bolte at Ross’ farewell from Seven News in 2009. Photo: Courtesy of Seven

"In a career spanning five decades, Roscoe was one of the most popular newsreaders in Australian television history – a perfect mix of on-road experience and on-camera charisma.

"More than that, he was respected, trusted, and with a warm personality viewers loved. What you saw on television was the man behind the scenes. He was loved by everyone in the newsroom.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to Roscoe's partner Gray [Bolte] and his family."

The director of Seven News, Sydney, Chris Willis, paid tribute to Ross: "We all loved Roscoe. He was the consummate newsman and a wonderful human being. He had incredibly high professional standards and could be a tough task master. He led our news brilliantly in the time he was here.

"He was also great fun to work with. He was serious about his job, but didn't take himself too seriously and frequently entertained the newsroom with jokes at his own expense. We will all treasure our memories of Roscoe."

Earlier this year Ross, who had retired from the Seven network in 2009, told Fairfax Media he learnt of the cancer after a routine trip to the doctor.

By that stage it was already at stage four, he said, having metastasised to his liver. His oncologist had given him a prognosis of five months.

''While I agree with the diagnosis, I do not necessarily agree with the prognosis," he said at the time.

''I have decided that the only way to handle this friggin' nightmare is to remain as positive about it as I possibly can and to get back to leading as 'normal' a life as possible. Right now I feel healthy and well, I have no symptoms ... but I don't know how long that will last for.''

Tributes for Ross, one of the best-loved personalities in Australian television, flowed once news of his passing became public knowledge.

"Hearts are heavy with the news that Ian Ross has passed away," tweeted Seven colleague Mark Beretta.

"Roscoe was a wonderful gentleman. Treasure the time shared on Seven News desk."

Seven's Sharon Ghidella tweeted: "So sad to hear of the passing of Ian Ross.. A pleasure to work with..a true professional & an absolute gentleman. #RIP Roscoe."

Similar sentiments were echoed by his former colleagues at Nine, reflecting the level of respect he had earned from those who worked with him at both networks.

"The Nine and Seven networks and the whole television industry have lost one of our best and bravest in the sad passing of Ian Ross," said Nine CEO David Gyngell.

"Roscoe is the good guy who always finished first.

"That he was universally loved by his peers in as tough and competitive an industry as television news says it all. What's more, his wide audience also thought the world of him.

"Ian was a lovely man – warm, generous, hilarious, a great, loyal friend to all his colleagues and the ultimate professional. He will be sadly missed. I extend our deepest condolences to Ian's family and his partner Gray ."

Nine TV host David Campbell said: "One of the nicest blokes of TV Ian Ross has passed away. He will be missed by so many."

"SAD NEWS: Our friend and former colleague Ian Ross has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family," tweeted Nine News' official account.

It is understood a funeral service for Ross will take place on the Gold Coast.

He is survived by partner Gray Bolte, his ex-wife, three children and eight grandchildren.