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The ‘life or death surgery’ that gave late TV legend Bert Newton an extra six months with his family

Late Australian TV legend Bert Newton’s life-saving operation gave him an extra six precious months with his beloved wife Patti and their six grandchildren.

The 83-year-old passed away on Saturday night having suffered a long health battle which led to one of his legs being amputated.  


He consented to the amputation in May after spending six weeks at Melbourne‘s Epworth Hospital for a toe infection that had been steadily worsening.  

By his side was Bert’s wife of 47 years, Patti, who told The Daily Telegraph at the time she had ‘never seen anybody in more pain’ than her husband on the morning of his operation. 


Final photo: On October 24, Patti posted a photo of a beaming Bert recovering in his hospital bed while surrounded by five of his grandchildren

Final photo: On October 24, Patti posted a photo of a beaming Bert recovering in his hospital bed while surrounded by five of his grandchildren 

The late TV legend pictured with his family before lockdown and uploaded by wife Patti

The late TV legend pictured with his family before lockdown and uploaded by wife Patti 

'I have never seen anybody in more pain': Entertainment legend Bert Newton was experiencing unbearable pain from his infected toe before doctors amputated his leg in May

‘I have never seen anybody in more pain’: Entertainment legend Bert Newton was experiencing unbearable pain from his infected toe before doctors amputated his leg in May

She added: ‘I just felt he could not go through pain like he was going through for much longer.’  

Patti, 76, also spoke of her husband’s fighting spirit, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because ‘he has so much to live for’.

‘He is lucky; he has got family all around him. The grandkids mean the world to him.’ 

Shortly before his death Patti riddled her Instagram with heartwarming photos of the Showbiz star and his adorable grandchildren. 

Her last post uploaded on Sunday was simply captioned: ‘That’s What Happiness is.’

It shows a beaming Bert with his five grandchildren who sit by his hospital bedside all smiles. 

He had been receiving palliative care at a clinic in Melbourne at the time of his death. 

The TV personality is survived by his wife Patti, his two kids and six grandchildren 

Bert Newtown pictured with his grandson Alby shortly after his amputation surgery

Bert Newtown pictured with his grandson Alby shortly after his amputation surgery

The showbiz star's close-knit family were by his bedside amid his long health battle and recent leg amputation

The showbiz star’s close-knit family were by his bedside amid his long health battle and recent leg amputation

Lauren Newton posted a heartwarming birthday tribute to her dad on her instagram in July

Lauren Newton posted a heartwarming birthday tribute to her dad on her instagram in July 

Amputation: The 83-year-old consented to the amputation after spending six weeks at Melbourne's Epworth Hospital, where his condition had been steadily worsening. Pictured in Melbourne on August 17, 2019

Amputation: The 83-year-old consented to the amputation after spending six weeks at Melbourne’s Epworth Hospital, where his condition had been steadily worsening. Pictured in Melbourne on August 17, 2019

Bert needed surgery after his toe became infected before Christmas and he was hospitalised in March before his surgery in May.

The infection was ‘linked to his diabetes’ and was threatening his life with Doctor’s telling Mr Newton the surgery was a ‘life or death decision’.  

Doctors reportedly told Bert that if he kept the leg then he would have just ‘months to live’ rather than years if he chose to amputate.

Fighter: Patti also spoke of her husband's fighting spirit, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because 'he has so much to live for'

Fighter: Patti also spoke of her husband’s fighting spirit, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because ‘he has so much to live for’

Health struggles: Bert's wife of 47 years, Patti Newton, told The Daily Telegraph she had 'never seen anybody in more pain' than her husband on the morning of his operation

Health struggles: Bert’s wife of 47 years, Patti Newton, told The Daily Telegraph she had ‘never seen anybody in more pain’ than her husband on the morning of his operation

At the time of his surgery, journalist and long-time friend Peter Ford explained Bert’s infection continued to spread no matter what doctors did. 

‘[The infection] got worse… he was seeing doctors and specialists and they couldn’t seem to get it right; it kept on spreading,’ he said.

‘Basically he was told, “You have a couple of months to live, or if you have your leg amputated, you’ll probably have a few years.” So he agreed to have the leg amputated on Saturday.’

Mr Ford said Bert and Patti were preparing for a major adjustment once he gets home from hospital.

‘It’s a big decision for anyone to make [to amputate], but it’s also a practical thing, because they live in a two-storey place with the bedrooms and the bathrooms upstairs, so they’re now having to convert the house downstairs because Patti doesn’t want him to go into a nursing home,’ he said.

Bert Newtown snapped celebrating New Years day with his grandson Alby

Bert Newtown snapped celebrating New Years day with his grandson Alby

However, the Newton continued to remain positive and remained adamant they did not want the public to think of Bert’s amputation as a ‘sad’ story.

Mr Ford said: ‘They [the Newton family] said, “We had a choice. Other people don’t have a choice. Bert wants to keep on living, because he adores Patti, his children and his grandkids, and he wants to have as much time as he can with them.”‘ 

While Bert’s health has been a concern for almost 10 years now, the exact nature of his latest ailment wasn’t made public until earlier this year.

Patti, had been pictured visiting her husband in hospital on April 28 with a broken ankle, accompanied by her daughter, Lauren.

Family: However, he seemed to be in better health by Christmas Day, when he joined his family for lunch at Crown Melbourne. Bert and Patti are pictured with their daughter, Lauren, her husband, Matt Welsh, and their six children, Sam, Eva, Lola, Monty, Perla and Alby

Family: However, he seemed to be in better health by Christmas Day, when he joined his family for lunch at Crown Melbourne. Bert and Patti are pictured with their daughter, Lauren, her husband, Matt Welsh, and their six children, Sam, Eva, Lola, Monty, Perla and Alby

On November 19, she had posted a photo to Instagram of Bert in hospital as he battled a mystery illness, which may have been his toe infection.

‘Bert’s been in hospital [but] all good. He’s got a lot of living to do,’ she wrote in the caption. 

However, he seemed to be in better health by Christmas Day, when he joined his family for lunch at a Chinese restaurant at Crown Melbourne.

Unwell: Patti had posted this photo to Instagram of Bert in hospital as he battled a mystery illness, which may have been his toe infection

Unwell: Patti had posted this photo to Instagram of Bert in hospital as he battled a mystery illness, which may have been his toe infection  

Patti’s Instagram activity about this time suggests her husband was discharged from hospital for the duration of the holiday period.  

Bert’s health first became a concern in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass.

In the years following the surgery, he was hospitalised three times with pneumonia and was also diagnosed with anemia.

Anemia can make a person feel tired or weak because there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues.

The four-time Gold Logie winner told reporters outside hospital in 2017 that he was feeling better after being treated for pneumonia.

‘I’m feeling better now. It took a while. I didn’t realise until I copped it the first time, that pneumonia is such a serious thing, but I’m feeling better now,’ he said at the time.

Declining health: Bert's health first became a concern in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass. In the years following the surgery, he was hospitalised three times with pneumonia and was also diagnosed with anemia. Pictured in hospital with one of his grandchildren

Declining health: Bert’s health first became a concern in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass. In the years following the surgery, he was hospitalised three times with pneumonia and was also diagnosed with anemia. Pictured in hospital with one of his grandchildren


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