Patti Newton ‘devastated’ after death of Bert Newton at 83

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Patti Newton has spoken out about the death of her beloved husband, TV icon Bert Newton.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Patti said she hopes the 83-year-old “will be remembered for the legend that he was”.

Patti Newton and Bert Newton
Patti Newton has spoken out about her devestation following the death of her husband, Bert Newton. Photo: Getty Images

She also spoke from outside her Melbourne home about missing her late husband’s final breath.

“I left [the clinic where Bert was in palliative care] at ten past seven, and I was just pulling around to come into my drive and I get the call to say he'd taken his last breath at 7.22pm,” she said.

“It's very, very devastating. All our hearts are breaking because he was just the most wonderful man.”

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Patti said Victoria Premier Dan Andrews called her on Sunday morning offering a state funeral for Bert. 

Patti Newton and Bert Newton
Patti detailed how she missed his final breath. Photo: Getty Images

“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.”

The four-time gold Logie award-winning entertainer, who had a leg amputated in May this year due to a life-threatening infection, died on Saturday at a private clinic in Melbourne.

His widow Patti has accepted a Victorian government offer of a state funeral.

The Nine Network, with which Newton - affectionately known as Moonface - was longest associated, confirmed the news of his death, sparking a widespread response from high-profile entertainers and politicians.

Bert and Patti Newton
Bert Newton passed away at the age of 83. Photo: Getty Images

"Australian TV wouldn't be what it is without Bert," comedian Adam Hills tweeted.

"It's up to us all to take what he taught us, and keep his spirit alive."

Fellow comedian Rove McManus said in a tweet he was heartbroken.

"I don't know that I'm ready to accept this yet. Today I lost a mentor and friend, our country lost an icon, but most importantly a family has lost their hero and soul mate," McManus said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said overnight from the G20 summit in Rome Newton had invited himself into Australian living rooms during a golden era of television when everyone seemed to watch the same thing at the same time.

"And he was such a welcome guest," he said.

"Every time he came into our living rooms, we always looked forward to coming back.

"He had a great sense of humour and he understood, probably better than most, self-deprecating humour, which is a real Australian trait. He had it down to a tee."

Melbourne-born Newton started in the radio business aged 12 and scaled the heights of Australian entertainment on stage and screen.

Alongside Graham Kennedy and Don Lane he was part of a trio known as the kings of Australian television.

His TV credits include In Melbourne Tonight, The Graham Kennedy Show, The Don Lane Show, Good Morning Australia, New Faces, Bert's Family Feud and 20 to 1.

On stage he played roles in the musicals Wicked, Annie, Grease and as narrator in The Rocky Horror Show.

"Bert Newton was a giant of our industry, entertaining generations of Australians across our television screens," Nine's director of television Michael Healy said in a statement.

"He brought unbridled joy and laughter into our homes as part of so many programs, partnerships and formats."

Newton is survived by Patti, his wife of more than 46 years, children Lauren and Matthew, and grandchildren.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Australia had "lost an icon".

"My heart goes out to his family who have lost a husband, a father and friend," he tweeted.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described Newton as "an icon, a larrikin and a born entertainer".

"We have never known TV without Bert," he said.

"He was there from the beginning. From black and white to colour, as TV changed, Bert endured."

Mr Andrews said Newton's memory, talent and achievements would be honoured at a state funeral, with details to be shared in the coming days.

With additional reporting by AAP

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