Bert Newton’s unbelievably kind hospital act before his death

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
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People across Australia have been left saddened by Bert Newton's passing on Saturday at the age of 83, five months after having his leg amputated due to an infection.

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford announced the news to Twitter on Saturday night, sharing that Bert was "a great mentor and friend".

Bert Newton
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford has shared a story he's kept secret about Bert Newton for 31 years and can finally share now he's passed. Photo: Getty

Peter once worked as Bert's radio producer before the showbiz icon encouraged him to be an entertainment reporter instead.

During an appearance on Hit NSW Breakfast with Gawndy and Maz on Monday morning, Peter shared a story about Bert that he'd been keeping a secret for 31 years.

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Peter revealed he had a friend who was dying of AIDS at a Melbourne hospital and had only been given a few weeks to live, so he sent out a bunch of cards to various celebrities on behalf of his friend.

"[I] said, 'My friend is very, very ill. He's a fan of yours, any chance you could sign the card and put it in the post box and he'd get a thrill out of it,'" Peter said.

"And so, within a week all the celebrities had sent cards back cheering up my friend enormously, but Bert didn't. And I said okay, that's alright, never mind now he's busy, you can't have everything.

Bert Newton at the Logies
Peter revealed Bert was the person who encouraged him to become an entertainment reporter. Photo: Getty
Bert Newton with his Gold Logie
Rather than simply signing a card for Peter's friend, Bert visited him and all the patients on the ward and even gave him one of his Gold Logies. Photo: Getty

"About five days later, I went to this horrible hospital and as soon as I walked in there, there was this buzz in the air. And the person on the desk said, 'You're not going to believe it, Bert Newton was just here! And he's gone around to every single person, every patient in the AIDs ward and sat at their bedside and told them stories and made them laugh.'"

Peter continued, "And then I went in to see my friend who was on a high saying, 'You're not gonna believe it, who came to visit me.' And I looked across to the bedside table and Bert had left this complete stranger one of his Gold Logies."

Peter joked they had the Logie on eBay within three hours, adding, "I rang [Bert] and I thanked him and he said, 'Oh look, don't report that until after I've carked it because I've probably broken some Logie law, I'll end up in jail for giving one of them away!'"

Host Maz Compton was stunned by the beautiful gesture, saying, "It's a beautiful thing that you've been keeping this secret for so long and now you can share the true essence of Bert Newton."

Bert Newton and Patti Newton
Bert, pictured with wife of 46 years Patti, will receive a state funeral in Melbourne. Photo: Getty

Peter said there are "lots of stories of great kindness like that", adding that Bert's wife Patti is "devastated" after losing her husband of 46 years.

"They knew it was coming because this has been a horrible year for them," Pete added. "He's been in hospital since the first week of January, and then in May when they said to him, 'Look you're going to die in a couple of weeks or we can amputate your leg and hopefully that will give you a few more years!' But there was never any guarantee. And so he basically threw the dice and unfortunately this time it didn't land well for him."

Peter also revealed that Bert suffered numerous complications and almost had his second leg amputated, but they didn't go through with that and instead, he entered palliative care three weeks ago. 

He explained that Bert had really wanted to go home and that Patti had been getting the house ready for him and making it wheelchair accessible. 

"He didn't want to die," he said. "He was still talking about getting better and getting home."

Peter also added that Patti is meeting with the people from the Premier's office today to discuss ideas for the state funeral.

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