THE world is in mourning after Aussie golfer Jarrod Lyle’s death aged 36 was confirmed by his wife Briony on Thursday.
Lyle had been fighting a third battle with cancer since a recurrence of acute myeloid leukaemia in 2017 and last week moved into palliative care to spend his final days alongside Briony and his two daughters Lusi, 6, and Jemma, 2.
He was inspirational to the very end, leaving the world with one final, heartfelt message.
“He asked that I provide a simple message,” Briony said in a statement. “‘Thanks for your support, it meant the world. My time was short, but if I’ve helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted.’”
After hearing the tragic news, it was everyone else’s turn to send messages of support to Lyle and his family. Golfers, fans, journalists and politicians who had been moved by Lyle’s story were all quick to pay tribute to the man who made a positive impact on so many lives.
‘LARRIKIN’ WAS SELFLESS TO THE END
Former professional turned Fox Sports golf commentator Paul Gow, who was a good friend of Lyle’s, spoke about the legacy the larger-than-life “larrikin” will leave behind.
Gow said Lyle’s positivity and selfless attitude, even when he was enduring the toughest fight of his life, were defining characteristics that made him more special than most.
“We’ve lost one of the great humans, I called him just a good bloke,” Gow told Fox Sports News. “That’s what he was and he was the guy everybody wanted to be around because he was so jovial. We called him the Big Fella.
“He’ll be sorely missed. He was always about someone else.
“He had this uncanny ability while fighting this ugly disease to turn the conversation back onto you and not him. He was an amazing, amazing human.
“He was always about other people rather than himself.”
Gow said Lyle took the time to call his loved ones shortly before he died “just to say thank you and I love you. To have the energy to do that was just amazing”.
Lyle had beaten cancer twice before but unfortunately this battle proved a step too far. Gow will always remember the tremendous fight he showed to beat the odds for as long as he did and said the fact he somehow managed to return to the PGA Tour after overcoming his illness for a second time revealed the mark of the man.
“He’s the bravest guy I’ve known because he took this head on and he was just battling it as hard as he could,” Gow said.
“He went back to play 20 events on the US Tour … and that’s where he got a huge amount of respect from the players because there’s not many who could come back from that and it was a tough ride for him.
“What I will remember is this big, fun-loving guy that just made you feel so good. He was amazing.”
‘WE’RE ALL BETTER OFF FOR KNOWING HIM’
Aussie golf icon Craig Parry was another who paid tribute to Lyle. An emotional Parry’s voice broke as he spoke about the “very difficult” day confronting all those who knew Lyle, who will forever be remembered for his gentle soul.
“He was just a really lovely guy. He never looked down on anyone, I never heard him speak ill of anyone,” Parry told Fox Sports News.
“His ability to touch everyone and the way he handled himself in such a terrible circumstance (was amazing).
“Jarrod was the type of guy who was loved by all … we’re all better off for knowing him there’s no doubt about that.
“He was a great ball striker and a great talent taken away just way too soon.”
American golf writer Ryan Lavner wrote a passionate tribute as he recalled the pair’s first meeting ahead of a hospital visit in 2011, when he tearfully apologised for not being able to visit the chldren’s cancer ward because it brought up too many traumatic memories for him.
“He was a hero in Australia, a beacon of hope for those battling the disease, an inspiration to anyone who spent even a few minutes around him,” Lavner wrote for the Golf Channel. “Happy and humble and hilarious, he continued to defy the odds.
“He apologised profusely to the hospital PR staffer, but, no, he couldn’t tour the facility. It was still too raw, too painful, too real.
“Instead, with his eyes welling, he hoped that I’d be able to share his remarkable story for him.
“Lyle worried that day whether his hopeful message would be heard, but I’ve never had a doubt.”
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