ABC Perth Host and Journalist Russell Woolf Dies
By Natalie Richards and Sarah Steger | PerthNow
ABC journalist Russell Woolf has died, aged 57.
The death of the popular Perth radio host was announced by his colleague Geoff Hutchison on Tuesday.
“We’ve got some really sad news to share with you this morning that our beloved friend and colleague Russell Woolf died earlier this morning. It’s come as a huge shock to us,” he said.
“You leave a very big hole in our hearts.
“Today is a sad day.”
Woolf presents ABC Perth’s Breakfast program and has had a long career with the network after first starting with the network at its Karratha bureau in 1997.
Hutchison said his colleagues were in shock at his sudden passing. They are understood to have been told two hours before the news was announced on air.
Premier Mark McGowan took to Twitter to say how he was “deeply saddened” by the news and paid tribute to his “long and storied career” in WA journalism.
“His unique and iconic voice, wit and and personality made him beloved by countless Western Australians. For many of us, whether we knew him personally or not, it will feel like we’ve lost a friend today,” he said.
“My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.”
Woolf is perhaps best known for his four years as ABC TV’s weather presenter from 2007 to 2011. He was also a political candidate for a West Australian Senate seat in 2014.
Devastated listeners are calling into the show to express the heartbreak at the news.
“He was such a character. It’s just going to be really, really difficult to not wake up and hear Rusty in the morning,” listener Shane from Albany said.
Radio and television production lecturer Andrea Burns said she’d seen Woolf just last week when he gave his annual lecture to her students at Edith Cowan University.
“He came with is good thongs on, his shorts and a gingham shirt. He had the students enthralled for the better part of two hours,” she said.
“What a devastating loss for all of us. He was kind and generous and hilarious and God we loved him.”
Woolf is survived by his wife Kylie and daughter Bronte.
ABC Perth has experienced tragedy in the past with the death of beloved breakfast presenter Eoin Cameron, 65, in 2016 after a heart attack.
ABC Sports broadcaster Wally Foreman also died after suffering a heart attack in 2006.