ITV journalist Gary Burgess has died aged just 46 after a long battle with cancer.
The well-respected broadcaster, who covered the Channel Islands, passed away "peacefully" at a hospice yesterday.
His husband Alan confirmed the heartbreaking news in a statement as he paid tribute to the NHS workers who helped him in his final weeks.
He said: "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 of good."
Gary, who lives in Jersey Alan, was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999.
He was treated with chemotherapy and had two tumours removed in 2015 and 2016.
Gary had documented his battle with the disease in his blog and often posted positive, light-hearted and humorous posts about his treatment.
But in 2020, Gary bravely told how his cancer was terminal and had just six to 12 months to live after tumours between his heart and lungs spread.
He tragically revealed in November he was "going to die soon".
Writing on his blog, the journalist 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.
"Having to ring your dad to tell him you're going to die is horrible. Then your brother. Then a friend. Then another friend. Then your boss. Each call is utterly exhausting."
Gary, who also wrote a column for the Jersey Evening Post, opened up about the devastating prognosis as he grappled with whether to continue chemotherapy.
Prior to his death, Gary penned an emotional final message, saying that he's had "the best life" and "the luckiest life".
He also praised his "soul mate" and husband Alan, saying: "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."
The journalist continued: "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."
Husband Alan’s heartbreaking tribute in full
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 seven years through all of the different stages of this disease. Gary was always grateful for the many kindnesses he was shown, whether it was from the nurses in the oncology ward, the porters wheeling him down corridors when he was too weak to walk by himself or the cups of coffee made by volunteers in the MacMillan Oasis Suite.
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 finally I 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 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 of good.
More to follow…
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