Hey Hey It's Saturday star John Blackman's wife Cecile speaks for the first time following his death at 76 from a heart attack, detailing their precious last moments

Total Views : 22
Zoom In Zoom Out Read Later Print

John Blackman's wife, Cecile, has spoken publicly for the first time since the radio legend's death from a heart attack at the age of 76.

The Hey Hey It's Saturday star's passing was announced on The Morning Show earlier this week, with tributes quickly pouring in for the Australian radio icon.

Blackman's wife of 52 years, Cecile, has now spoken out publicly after her husband's death and detailed their precious final moments together.

The broadcaster passed away from a heart attack at his home on Tuesday after undergoing minor surgery the day before to have two skin cancers removed.

In 2018, Blackman had his jaw removed amid a difficult battle with cancer and underwent brain surgery in 2022, but Cecile said it was his heart that caused his death, as he had been on heart medication for many years.

"I think his body just went 'No, I am sick of this'. He died of a heart attack; there was no sign of cancer," she told the Herald Sun.

Cecile detailed Blackman's last moments, explaining how he went for a five-hour nap after feeling tired from his minor surgery but woke up with 'shocking' chest pain.

She immediately called an ambulance, but Blackman tragically died before they arrived at their home.

She shared: "I took him to the couch and laid him down, and he died just then. The ambulance arrived in minutes and they did everything they could. At one stage, there were eight people here, but his heart just stopped beating."

Cecile said she was grateful Blackman was at home at the time and recounted how she and her daughter Tiffany, born in 1974, were given two 'special' hours with him after his passing.

"They wrapped him up warmly, and the funeral parlour people asked if we would like to spend time privately with him at home," she shared.

"We asked for two hours, and those two hours will be embedded in my brain forever. They were so precious and special and important."

Cecile also reflected on Blackman's health struggles, noting that he never received an official cancer diagnosis despite undergoing numerous surgeries to remove skin tumours.

The presenter first suffered from a severe case of skin cancer known as a basal cell carcinoma in August 2018.

The 'really aggressive' cancer was discovered during a routine trip to his doctor to examine an inflamed pimple.

Later that same year, Blackman underwent a 12-hour operation to remove the cancerous growth on his mouth, and his jaw was replaced with a portion of his thigh bone.

In January 2024, he described how his life changed after the operation, which removed the cancerous tumour but meant he couldn't work in front of a microphone again.

"When I went to my surgeon to get the results of the test, he said, 'Look, John, your life is going to change completely from now on'," he told the Herald Sun.

"Professionally, financially, emotionally, it is never going to be the same again. You will never work in front of a mic again."

He bravely recounted how the gruelling operation couldn't rob him of his well-known sense of humour despite changing his career.

"Everything the surgeon said has come true. Even now, talking to you, it is painful. I can't do what I love," Blackman continued.

"Thankfully, I still have my sense of humour; they did not remove that."

Just years after his first surgery, Blackman faced a second battle in 2022 when he had to undergo another life-saving operation on his brain.

Another growth had sprouted 'in a crater', a result of one of the removal procedures, and had started to move towards his brain.

Blackman admitted the cancer could have 'killed' him and he underwent a six-hour surgery to remove the 'aggressive' tumour, leaving him with a titanium mesh plate in his head.

"That was the one that could have actually killed me, because it was a very aggressive cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) that was growing right on the top of my noggin," he said.

The legendary broadcaster had a hugely successful radio career spanning around 50 years, but was best known for his character voices on the long-running variety TV show Hey Hey It's Saturday.

Blackman first started his career in the media back in 1969 and went on to become a household name on Australia's airwaves.

He transitioned from working in sales to launching his radio career at the age of 22, initially working at 2GN Goulburn as an announcer, newsreader, copywriter, and salesman.

Blackman went on to secure a position at 2CA Canberra before joining 3AW in Melbourne as an evening announcer alongside Reverend Alex Kenworthy on Nightline.

He later moved to Sydney and worked as a staff continuity announcer and daytime newsreader at National Nine News' programme TCN-9.

Then came his famous move to Hey Hey It's Saturday, where he worked as an announcer and performed character voices on the show for its entire 28-year run.

Blackman became famous for his rapid-fire wit, incredible sense of humour, and hilarious punchlines.

He voiced legendary characters including Angel, Mrs Macgillicuddy, Alfred Desk Mike, and Charlie Who, among many others, winning over legions of fans.

The long-running programme was on screens from 1971 until 1999, and went on to have a string of brief relaunches in the early noughties, which Blackman returned for.

Blackman also lent his famous voice to the Hey Hey It's 100 Years special, which aired in Victoria and South Australia in April 2022.

Hey Hey It's Saturday faced controversy in recent years when Kandiah 'Kamahl' Kamalesvaran claimed he was targeted by a series of racist jokes on the programme.

He said the most offensive skit occurred in 1984 when a stagehand covered his face in white powder before presenter Blackman called out off-screen: "You're a real white man now, Kamahl, you know that?"

Blackman was also well-known for his role as a breakfast show presenter on 3AW alongside Bruce Mansfield, in what was considered one of Australia's most successful radio pairings.

After leaving 3AW, he had a seven-year hiatus from radio before returning to 3AK Melbourne as a breakfast show host alongside Anna Pinkus and Denis Donoghue.

Blackman also featured on a string of panel shows, including Family Feud, Blankety Blanks, and Personality Squares.

His other radio highlights included working on Triple M Adelaide, MAGIC 1278, and Coodabeen Champions on 3UZ.