Johnny Ruffo dead at 35: Home and Away co-stars share emotional tributes

'He was truly one in a million.'

Tributes are pouring in from Johnny Ruffo’s Home and Away co-stars after his family confirmed on Friday that the singer and actor had sadly passed away at age 35 following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Johnny shot to fame on The X Factor in 2011 and went on to star in Home and Away as Chris Harrington from 2013 to 2016.

Johnny Ruffo on Home and Away.
Johnny Ruffo has sadly passed away at age 35 following a lengthy battle with cancer. Photo: Channel Seven

He first revealed his health struggles in 2017 when he underwent surgery for a brain tumour and was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after. Following treatment, he was declared cancer-free in 2019, but sadly his cancer returned in November 2021.

Johnny’s family announced his passing in a statement on Instagram, writing: “It is with a heavy heart that today we had to farewell our beloved Johnny.

“Surrounded by his partner Tahnee and family, Johnny went peacefully with the support of some incredible nurses and doctors.

“He was a very talented, charming and sometimes cheeky boy. Johnny was very determined and had a strong will. He battled all the way to the end and fought as hard as he could. Such a beautiful soul with so much more to give.

“We all love you Johnny and will remember you for all the joy you brought to our lives.”

Johnny Ruffo on Home and Away.
Johnny played Chris Harrington on Home and Away from 2013 to 2016. Photo: Channel Seven

Home and Away stars share tributes

Celebrities and fans have since taken to the comments to express their love and sadness for Johnny, including several of his Home and Away co-stars.

“Sending love to Johnny’s family, friends and loved ones,” Georgie Parker wrote. “He was truly one in a million, funny, bright and such a hard worker. It’s ridiculously cruel that he’s no longer here. Rest up now Johnny.”

“Oh Johnny. He was the first cast member I ever met on @homeandaway and he was instantly warm, funny and self-deprecating. What joy he brought to the world. Sending all my love to Tahnee, and all Johnny’s family and friends,” Penny McNamee shared.


“So devastatingly sad. My heart is absolutely broken. Life just isn’t fair. @johnny_ruffo you will continue to be an inspiration to all of us. I’m sending all my love to Johnny’s family, dear friends & beautiful Tahnee,” Sarah Roberts replied.

“Love you mate,” Tai Hara said, followed by Harley Bonner who wrote, “Love to you and your loved ones, mate”.

Johnny Ruffo on The X Factor Australia.
Johnny rose to fame on the third season of The X Factor Australia in 2011. Photo: Channel Seven

'My heart just broke'

A number of Johnny’s co-stars from The X-Factor have also shared tributes, with former judge Mel B writing: “My heart just broke. Sending my sincere condolences.”

“Oh my. What an incredible human. Sending so much love,” fellow judge Natalie Bassingthwaighte said, while Dannii Minogue shared, “The cheekiest chap. His voice, smile and dancing feet will be missed by so many. Thinking of his family in this heart breaking time”.

His mentor on the show Guy Sebastian posted a photo with Johnny on his Instagram Story alongside the text: “The funniest bloke and such a kind soul. Generous and talented, surrounded by beautiful family, mates and supported by a true soul mate right to the end. You lit up my life every time I saw you and I only wish I saw you more. RIP JR.”

“Oh my goodness this is so heartbreaking,” season five contestant Taylor Henderson wrote. “I am so sorry to hear this. What an incredible man he is. He gave me such incredible advice at the start of my career and I was always amazed at his work ethic. He really inspired me to keep going. What a legend! RIP Johnny thanks for all the joy you brought to this world for others.”

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