Australian political cartoonist Larry Pickering has died following a long battle with cancer.
The 76-year-old passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Monday night after the disease spread to his liver.
His good friend and fellow cartoonist Paul Zanetti shared the news on Larry’s popular blog The Pickering Post on Tuesday morning, saying he was stoic until the end.
“I spent time with Larry last week at his new home,” Paul wrote. “His biggest complaint was that Foxtel hadn’t yet been hooked up. He was in obvious pain, but Larry was always ‘Good as gold, mate’.”
Larry had checked himself out of hospital on Friday and spent his remaining days beside his loved ones.
My close mate, the legendary cartoonist, Larry Pickering passed away peacefully last night in the company of his family.
No other cartoonist cast such a wide net over the political landscape.
Condolences to the Pickering family.
— Zanetti Cartoons (@ZanettiCartoons) November 19, 2018
He was initially diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and only given a few months to live. However, with his fighting spirit, the four-time Walkley Award winner battled on for two more years.
“He has lost a lot of weight and his condition has spread to his liver,” Paul wrote in a separate post on Larry’s website last Friday. “He is now in considerable pain but is refusing pain killers as he intends to remain conscious and lucid for what time he has left with his loved ones.
“He has checked himself out of hospital and has gone home to be with his family. My thoughts and prayers are with Larry and his loving wife and children who he adores.”
According to Paul, despite his fighting spirit, even Pickering knew the end was near and it was time to say goodbye.
“Up until now, he hasn’t wanted to say too much as he hates to burden others with his problems,” he wrote on The Pickering Post. “Now however, things have reached a point where even Larry has to admit that his race is almost run.”
Larry first shot to fame in the 1970s for his work during the Whitlam and Fraser governments. Many of his drawings from this era cemented him as one of the country’s most astute political cartoonists.
Throughout his long career in the cartoon business, his work appeared in many well-known newspapers including The Australian, The Canberra Times, The National Times and the Sydney Morning Herald. He retired from full time work in the 1980s, but still regularly published cartoons to his Facebook page.
Speaking to The Australian, Paul said Larry was frustrated with politicians and the political correctness in the country during his later years. However, he was able to express his views freely in his blog.
“He was definitely frustrated by our politicians and by the way our society was becoming politically correct,” he told the publication.
“So many of these online platforms are so politically correct and his blog was the destination for so many people who felt they had nowhere else to go.”
Pickering is survived by his 13 beloved children and his wife Carol.