Kerri-Anne Kennerley broke down in tears throughout her husband John’s funeral as she bid a final farewell to the love of her life – dressed in a bright, floral dress to honour his wish of “no black” at the ceremony.
The Studio 10 presenter was seen greeting guests outside, holding back tears as she spoke to each individually. However, she struggled to contain her emotions as she sat at the front of the church and was seen sobbing in front of her husband’s casket.
As guests gathered to support her, the TV star also stood in front of the hearse and planted a single rose on top of John’s coffin in a lovely moment – before John’s son Simon delivered an emotional eulogy to praise his father’s incredible strength.
John passed away at the age of 78 last month after several health challenges following a fall from a balcony in March 2016 that left him partially paralysed. He sustained spinal cord damage following the freak fall, when he slipped off a balcony at a golf course in Coffs Harbour.
He was placed into an induced coma and taken to Sydney where he had emergency surgery on his spine, but the incident left him paralysed and he had to relearn how to speak.
Speaking to the family, friends and famous faces who were gathered in All Saints Anglican Church in Woollahra, Sydney, on Monday, Simon remembered his father’s “tremendous life” and, in a video shared on Twitter by 7 News, he could be heard saying: “Dad never gave up, even after his tragic accident almost three years to the day. He was determined to stay fit and not deteriorate.”
According to the Mail Online, he added: “I love you dearly dad,” before adding: “I am proud to be your son… I miss you already.”
Among the mourners wearing bright colours in John’s memory were Kerri-Anne’s Studio 10 co-hosts Sarah Harris, Angela Bishop, Denise Scott and Joe Hildebrand. Meanwhile, TV star Richard Wilkins, model Deborah Hutton and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove were also in attendance.
According to the Daily Telegraph, a funeral booklet featured pages of happy photos of John and his family, with a message reading: “Kerri and John and their friends and family would like to thank St Vincent’s Hospital for their care of John during the final stages of his illness.
“Unfortunately because of circumstances there will be no wake today except for a private immediate family gathering.”
And it comes hours after Harris issued a message on behalf of her “dear friend” and colleague on the show on Monday. She revealed that the popular Channel 10 program had received hundreds of condolence messages from fans and that every single message had been passed on to Kerri-Anne.
“She says she’s been deeply touched by such an outpouring of kindness at a really hard time and while she can’t respond to every message personally, she wanted us to pass along her heartfelt thanks,” Sarah explained. “We won’t lie. KAK is doing it really tough at the moment. John was the absolute love of her life.”
The 37-year-old said people don’t come much tougher than the former Good Morning Australia host but revealed the star would be taking a break before making her return to Studio 10 at the end of March. She also revealed some of the details of John’s funeral in advance.
“Now this morning, her beloved John will be farewelled at a service in Sydney,” Sarah continued. “John Kennerley, he just loved trains. In fact, he had a full model set running through their home and some of his favourite hand-made trains will adorn his coffin.
“KAK also says that John absolutely hated black, he hated her ever wearing it, so she wouldn’t wear it around him and he’s requested that this morning, all mourners wear colour today.”
John and Kerri-Anne were married for 35 years and she made the shock announcement of his tragic death to fans on Instagram with a heartfelt message.
“It’s with a heavy heart and awful sadness that I let you know that my beautiful husband John passed away last night,” she wrote. “As you all know, John has faced some tremendous challenges over the past few years and with each he has been extraordinarily brave and determined to overcome those hurdles and live a normal life.
It's with a heavy heart and awful sadness that I let you know that my beautiful husband John passed away last night. As you all know, John has faced some tremendous challenges over the past few years and with each he has been extraordinarily brave and determined to overcome those hurdles and live a normal life. I want to thank everyone at St Vincent's Hospital for the beautiful care they have provided to John in his last days. John passed away peacefully with his son Simon and I by his side. John, you were the love of my life. Xxx
“I want to thank everyone at St Vincent’s Hospital for the beautiful care they have provided to John in his last days.”
Kerri-Anne explained that her husband passed away with her and his son Simon by his side. She described John as the love of her life.