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News March 13, 2016

Jon English passes hours after surgery

Former Editor
Jon English passes hours after surgery

Australian-based musician and actor, Jon English, passed away at 2.30amdue to“post-operative complications”. He was66-years-old.

The tragic news was confirmed by his local music company Ambition Entertainment, which said at the time of his passing “he was surrounded by his four children, Jessamin, Josephine, Jonnie and Julian, his wife Carmen, his sister Janet, his brother Jeremy, his nephews Jay and Jasper Collie, his grandson Jzawo and other close family members.”

A spokesperson for English announced last month that he was undergoing “a small operation” after being hospitalised earlier in February. His former manager Peter Rix confirmed English was suffering broken ribs. The operation saw his team postpone his Newcastle date this Sunday March 13. Another date was not announced.

Photo was shared onJon English’s official Facebook page two weeks ago when he was admitted to hospital

According to reports, doctors discovered an issue with English’s aortic valve during surgery. The cause of death has been reported as an aortic aneurysm.

Rix told ABC Radio: “There aren’t that many senior male stars who evolved out of the music business that have managed to stay. I think Jon is one of those. People have such strong memories of hearing those songs on the radio and then going to see him perform.”

Born in the UK, he emigrated with his family in 1961 at age 12 to Sydney. He taught himself to play guitar, keyboards and drums, and was singing with a series of blues-rock bands which emerged out of Cabramatta High School. The most notable of these was Sebastian Hardie.

He first entered national consciousness in the early ‘70s at 22, for his role as Judas in the Australian version of stage musicalJesus Christ Superstar.His tall frame, gruff voice and piercing eyes drew him a lot of attention.

During the musical’s 700-show tour of Australia and New Zealand English recorded four albums, featuring hit tracks Handbags and Gladrags, Turn the Page and Hollywood Seven. English achieved his third #1 single in 1977, with Words Are Not Enough, and received four ARIA Awards over his career. One of which wasforhis musicalParis, which took homeBest Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Recording in 1991.

By the mid-70s, Sebastian Hardie had become Australia’s first symphonic rock band, and English produced their Four Moments album.

In 1978 English won the Best New Talent Logie Award for his role as convict Jonathan Garrett in mini-series, Against the Wind. English even wrote the score for the show.

Ambition has said English became one of the rare performers to win an acting Logie and a TV Week/Countdown award (for Best Male Vocalist) in the same year.

In1984 he won a Green Room Award for Male Actor in a Leading Role (Music Theatre) for his role in the Victorian State Opera’s production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Throughout a diverse career, English co-wrote a ballet (Phases), a 2-CD Paris: A Love Story from his interest in Trojan mythology, appeared as a faded rock star in the ‘90s TV series All Together Now, and made his mark in musicals as The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore.

Plans at the time of his death included a national tour with Rock Show Oz Edition in May and reuniting with actor Simon Gallagher for a production of Monty Python’s Spamalot.In fact, English was performing his music right up until he fell ill two weeks ago.

A public service celebrating Jon’s life will be held with details to be released shortly.


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