Leishman not in pain as cancer stole spark

Last updated 08:46 27/02/2013

Phillip Leishman dies aged 61

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TV star Phillip Leishman was ''never really in pain'' as the cancer he was battling stole away his ''spark and strength'', his brother says.

The 61-year-old star of Wheel of Fortune and The Golf Show died on Monday night from a brain tumour. He will be farewelled in a Catholic ceremony in central Auckland on Friday. His funeral will be at St Patrick's Cathedral at 1.30pm.

His brother and fellow broadcaster, Mark Leishman, said Phillip was proud of his 40-year career.

"From 1971 until 2012 he was on TV. He was a great performer, he loved people and people loved him."

It was a year ago on Sunday when Phillip was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was operated on but returned in October last year.

"He had a very nice summer, he felt healthy and was never really in pain.

"Towards the end of summer he started to lose his spark and strength."

Phillip was surrounded by his three children Harry, India and Lily, wife Michelle, and his siblings when he died at home.

"He was a wonderful family man, he was great with children," Mark said. "He was very loyal and generous, a fun character to be around."

Leishman's colleagues and friends were quick to acknowledge a "great man" who would go out of his way to help a person in need.

Phillip's former business partner Philip Smith, who he worked with on Sky TV's The Golf Show, said his friend's life was cut unfairly short.

"It's difficult to accept that someone so generous and loving who gave to so many people is gone. It's an injustice, a tragedy."

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