Ian Ross' remarkable life
A memorial to the life and career of journalist and newsreader Ian Ross, after the news of his death at 73 on Wednesday. Nine News.PT3M48S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37gvw 620 349 April 30, 2014
In the end it was kidney failure that claimed the life of former broadcaster Ian Ross, who died at the Gold Coast's John Flynn Hospital at 3.01am on Wednesday morning after pancreatic cancer had spread to his liver.
Ross was with Gray Bolte, his partner of 22 years, when he died.
Friends of the couple this morning said Bolte was not only Ross's "best mate" but also his life partner, and that Ross had maintained a sense of humour to the very end.
Ian Ross refused to "go around moping about it, feeling sorry for myself". Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Long-time friend and media identity Prue MacSween said Ross had maintained a good level of health until the last fortnight.
"He started having issues with his bile duct just over a week ago and then his kidneys failed ... at that point it was not looking very good. Ian thought he would be home out of hospital on Monday, but sadly we lost him," she told PS this morning.
In his final days Ross spent time with his extended family.
Ian Ross with his long-term partner and "best mate" Gray Bolte.
"He got to say goodbye to everyone he loved, to all his kids and to Gray ... he handled it all with dignity," MacSween said.
When Ross revealed he was facing a grim prognosis after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he opted to do just one interview in the hope he could "get on with it in peace".
During that interview he made it clear his chances were not good, and that he "may not be around in a few months' time", but refused to "go around moping about it, feeling sorry for myself".
But while Ross remained positive about giving himself "the best chance possible" of beating cancer, when asked why he had opted not to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy, he stressed: "I want to enjoy what time I have left.
"I've been told it could give me a few more months, but really I would be so sick during that time from the treatment I don't think it would be worth it."
The 73-year-old former king of television news has died, just three months after going public about his condition.
Ross told PS in January that a routine visit to the GP for a sore foot in the weeks leading up to Christmas resulted in blood tests that revealed he had pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver.
At the time he said: "But while I agree with the diagnosis, I do not necessarily agree with the prognosis ... they told me I have five months left to live.
"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."
The media veteran, known by millions of television viewers as "Roscoe", spoke to PS from his Gold Coast home, where he spent his final weeks.
One of his greatest sources to draw strength from came from his much loved family, and his partner.
"I have a lot of love and support around me from family and friends," he said.
Much of that love and support was from his three adult children and eight grand-children and his former wife, with whom he remained good friends.
Ross's relationship with Bolte, whom he described as a "very private man", was not widely known outside his family and friends.
"We really are the best of mates and always have been; we have rarely had an argument and we share common goals ... we move in the same direction and enjoy a good laugh," he said in January.
About 2500 Australians are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, which, according to the Cancer Council, is the 12th most common cancer in men and the ninth most common cancer in women.
Eventually Ross was unable to beat the overwhelming odds stacked up against him, having previously said: "I know it is very, very difficult to treat and it is terminal ... but I refuse to believe that I only have five months left. I have decided not to have treatment as chemotherapy might only give me a few more months, and only then if it was successful. I don't want to spend whatever time I have left lying in a bed going through chemo, I'd rather take an earlier exit if I have to ... the key to this is taking it one day at a time and we are looking at alternative therapies."
Ross retired from his position as news reader at Channel Seven in 2009, bringing to an end a 50-year career in the media, after being poached from rival Channel Nine.
He was credited with helping make the Seven bulletin the No.1 rating news service during his tenure, after spending years playing second fiddle to the once indomitable Nine.
"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," Nine chief executive David Gyngell said.
"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."