ITV News star dies aged 46 after long cancer battle: Husband’s heart-breaking tribute to journalist who ‘did a lot of good’ after he dies in hospice on New Year’s Day

  • ITV journalist Gary Burgess died of terminal cancer on New Year’s Day aged 46
  • The reporter, who lives in Jersey, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999
  • It spread to his chest and lungs before tumours were found in his lungs in 2015
  • All were treated with chemo but in October 2019 a CT scan showed five tumours 
  • Mr Burgess’s husband Alan paid tribute to ‘wonderful’ star who ‘did a lot of good’ 

ITV News journalist Gary Burgess has died of cancer aged 46 on New Year’s Day at a hospice, it has been confirmed.

He died peacefully in his sleep at a hospice in Jersey on January 1 after doctors found tumours on his lungs and told him they were inoperable.

Burgess told fans that he had six to twelve months left to live in November 2020 and documented his cancer journey on his blog after receiving the terminal diagnosis.

He was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999, and treated for further tumours in 2015 and 2016.

In a final message released by ITV following the news of his death, Burgess praised his ‘soul mate’ Alan and said he had ‘great sadness’ at the prospect of leaving his friends and family behind.   

ITV News journalist Gary Burgess has died of cancer aged 46 on New Year’s Day at a hospice, it has been confirmed

He died peacefully in his sleep at a hospice in Jersey on January 1 after doctors found tumours on his lungs and told him they were inoperable

Burgess told fans that he had six to twelve months left to live in November 2020 and documented his cancer journey on his blog after receiving the terminal diagnosis

He said: ‘I’ve had the best life. I’ve had the luckiest life. I met my soul mate and the love of my life who went on to become my husband. I got to work with some of the most amazing people in newsrooms and studios doing the job I absolutely adore.

‘And I’ve been able to share my own relatively short time on this planet surrounded by friends and loved ones who have enriched my life in ways they may never truly understand.

‘My greatest sadness is the prospect of leaving all of that and all of them behind. The thought of doing that to Alan is unfathomable to process, but I also know the very people who’ve shown me love and support will now wrap up those feelings around him in the coming days.

‘It’s time for me to hand over my microphone and keyboard for others to do the talking about me, so let my final words simply be ‘thank you’. Every person in my life has, in their own way, helped me live my best life. That’ll do.’ 

Burgess’s husband Alan took to social media to praise the star and thank fans for the ‘overwhelming’ support they both received in a heartbreaking tribute to the journalist.  

He wrote: ‘It is with great sadness that I need to announce the death of my wonderful husband Gary on Saturday 1 January. After many years of fighting cancer, Gary died peacefully in his sleep in Jersey Hospice.

‘I would like to publicly thank all of the many people and services within Jersey, and also at Southampton General Hospital, who have cared for Gary so well over the last 7 years through all of the different stages of this disease. 

Burgess’s husband Alan took to social media to praise the star and thank fans for the ‘overwhelming’ support they both received

‘I have to say a special thank you to Jersey Hospice and the Clinical Investigations team from Jersey’s hospital, who together enabled Gary to stay safely and comfortably at home for as long as possible in accordance with his wishes. He was even able to continue making occasional trips to his favourite breakfast spots on the island with his oxygen tank in hand.

‘And I also have to say thank you to the many well-wishers, be they friends, family, colleagues, ex-colleagues, viewers, radio listeners, blog readers or complete strangers, who have sent us their love and kind words since Gary received his terminal diagnosis in November 2020. At times we have both found the volume of messages to be almost overwhelming, but we were always thankful for the positivity, warmth and support shown to us both.

‘I expect there will be many tributes made to Gary in the coming hours and days and I want to keep my words about him now as simple as I can. Through his career in journalism and broadcasting, Gary would have seen every variation of words describing someone’s strength and bravery, their wit and humour, their kindness and generosity, their stubbornness and determination, their sense of mischief and their joy in life’s simple pleasures. 

‘So, in an attempt to avoid cliché, I am just going to misquote a line of dialogue from the final episode of The West Wing, being one of Gary’s favourite programmes and something said with love and pride by one spouse to the other. You did a lot of good, Gary. A lot of good.’

Tributes have poured in the for the reporter, who has been described by friends and colleagues as ‘brilliant journalist’, ‘friend’ and ‘wonderful colleague’. 

Guernsey’s former Chief Minister, Deputy Gavin St Pier wrote on Twitter: ‘Receiving this news was no less sad for its inevitability. 

‘It was an honour to have known Gary and to have called him a friend. Among his many attributes, some – kindness, tolerance and optimism – many of us aspire to show more often but he carried with ease.’

The late star revealed that a CT scan in October 2019 had found five more tumours which were treated with chemotherapy

Head of ITV Regional News, Guy Phillips, wrote on Twitter: ‘Gary was a brilliant journalist and wonderful colleague who cared deeply about his work and all those around him. He had many special qualities – his enthusiasm, determination and courage. A very sad loss. My thoughts are with Alan, his family and his many friends and colleagues.’

Head of News at ITV Channel TV, Karen Rankine wrote: ‘We are all devastated by the loss of our dear friend and colleague Gary. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary’s husband Alan and his family.’

In 2015, new tumours were found in his lungs before being surgically removed, with more tumours taken out the same way a year later.

The late star revealed that a CT scan in October 2019 had found five more tumours which were treated with chemotherapy.

But on November 3, his oncologist told him his cancer was terminal.

Burgess presented news reports, wrote a column for the Jersey Evening Post and hosted the local radio station Channel 103.

He wrote on Twitter last year: ‘Hello friends. This is a difficult post. I’ve always tried to be an open book about my health. Today some news I never expected to be sharing.’

Following it up on his popular blog, he penned: ‘Hearing you’re going to die is odd.   

‘The nasties growing between my heart and lung that three months of ‘salvage chemotherapy’ had shrunk earlier this year have come back to life… They’re inoperable. There isn’t a treatment left to get rid of them.

‘I’m apparently unusual (I knew that!), with my oncologist seeing only one such case of this rare cancer each year.

‘There is a chemotherapy treatment that has the potential to add a few extra weeks, maybe months, to my life, but the trade off is the loss of quality of life due to the side effects of that chemo. Right now, I’m yet to decide whether to go for it or not.’  

He said: ‘It immediately washed over me like the most overwhelming sea of guilt to think that my husband is likely going to be alone at home without me. Our holidays. Our watching telly on the sofa. Our weekend breakfasts.

‘It just feels totally unfair. For him. For me. And I know that makes me sound selfish. I don’t mean it like that. 

‘The weirdest bit is that, deep down, I’ve sensed I am dying for around three months now. I just kept hoping I’d be wrong.

‘The doctors didn’t know as I only had the scan and other tests last week, but I knew I was dying. 

‘I just didn’t have the words to describe it and I was determined to keep my best game face on as each day had become ever so slightly more difficult than the previous day.

‘It’s tiny stuff. I’m just a shade slower. I’m just a shade tireder. My skin is just a shade drier. My pain is just a shade sorer. And on it goes. Incremental, but over time it adds up. I don’t feel good.

‘But I smile my smile. I do my work thing. And when wonderfully kind people say nice things, especially ‘you look so well’, I cry a little inside, and outwardly I smile, thank them, and say ‘I’m plodding on’. It’s my way of trying not to lie to them while not burdening them with my woes.  

‘Do I transfer my savings to my husband’s bank account? What happens to those flight loyalty points I’ve got? Do I need to ring the tax office and let them know I’m dying? 

‘Should I plan my funeral now? Do I want to be buried or cremated? What will dying feel like? How can I not exist any more? 

‘I’ve Googled ‘what happens when you’re told you’re dying of cancer’ and I now know the results are rubbish.

‘Now my heart breaks at the prospect of the person I love more than any other in this world being cut adrift. It’s not fair on him. I feel like the worst husband ever, even though I know that’s just self-serving self-pitying silly talk.’ 

Source: Read Full Article