Patti Newton has spoken of her family’s devastation following the passing of their beloved husband, father and grandfather over the weekend.
“It’s very, very devastating,” she said through tears, with granddaughters Eva and Lola by her side.
“All our hearts are breaking because he was just the most wonderful man.”
The trio appeared outside their Melbourne home, with Patti saying her husband was at peace.
After she left the hospital at 7.10pm on Saturday night, Patti said she received a call telling her that her husband took his final breath just 12 minutes later.
“So I missed him, but maybe he didn’t want me to be there for his last breath,” she said.
“He had such a fabulous attitude. And he gave us so much joy right up to the end.”
She said Bert had a tough year battling his health troubles but “just couldn’t do it anymore”.
“His year was not only tough health-wise, but mentally he had a lot to cope with,” Patti said.
The TV star had his right leg amputated in May following a life-threatening toe infection, and remained in hospital after suffering complications.
Patti said her husband of 46 years continued to make her smile right until the end.
“All he could talk about was things that he had in mind,” she said.
“I’d be good at that, I wonder how I’d go at doing Eddie’s show if he ever wants a break. And I used to laugh, because I’d think you’re 83, you’ve got one leg, how would you go up and down stairs?
“But I love that attitude of his, he was never going to give up and that’s what we have to take with us, don’t we girls?
“We have to just make sure that the love he gave us stays with us forever.”
Patti said 12-year-old Eva, nine-year-old Lola, and all of his grandchildren were the “loves of his life”, and that the family needed “a bit of moral support” while grieving.
“It’s hard. It’s hard for this age group. (Our daughter) Lauren and Eva were out to dinner last night, just having a quick little girls’ meal. And I rang and poor Eva had to come, she didn’t go in, we felt that was too much for her,” Patti said.
“I can’t get that out of my mind, really, but I have to think that he’s at peace and he’s not in pain. Eva and Lola, both the loves of his life.
“A bit of moral support, that’s what we need.”
Tributes have poured in for the Australian entertainment icon since the news of his passing broke, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews describing him as an “icon, a larrikin and a born entertainer”.
The premier also told Patti he would offer to hold a state funeral for her husband, which she said Bert “would love”.
“I said yes to a state funeral because as I said, a little boy from North Fitzroy and having success in show business and having all these wonderful accolades go his way,’’ Patti said.
“And then a state funeral — Bert would love it. His mum and his sister, they would be so thrilled — and I’m thrilled for him.
“It’ll be very nice and it’s a wonderful gesture because he’s very Melbourne, Bert. Even though he’s worked in all different states, Melbourne was his state and his love so that was a very nice thing.”
Image: @pattinewtonofficial / Instagram
This article first appeared on Over60.