A violinist has stunned crowds in Melbourne with a heartbreaking tribute to much-loved restaurant owner Sisto Malaspina, who was killed in the horrific Bourke Street terror attack on Friday.
The 74-year-old co-owner of Pellegrini’s, who was well-known and loved around the city and beyond, was fatally stabbed by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali on Friday afternoon in the knife attack.
Now a violist – who is reportedly the owner of a nearby restaurant – has paid a moving tribute to Malaspina by performing a slow tune outside the doors of his renowned restaurant, in front of an ever-growing floral tribute.
Twitter users shared clips of the performance online, stunned by the lovely gesture. One wrote: “A beautiful owner from a nearby resturant played the violin for a Melbourne Icon who lost his life in yesterday’s terror attack #BourkeSt #melbourneterrorattack.”
Another added a short clip and simply wrote: “Outside Pellegrini’s, a musical tribute.”
Flowers and cards have been left outside in memory of the cheery owner, with Bill Shorten even visiting to lay his own flowers as a tribute to his life and work – having visited the cafe since he was a child.
Meanwhile, others who had the honour of meeting Malaspina have shared their own memories on Twitter, with one woman recalling the inspiring words he said to her just a month ago: “I feel young, I feel happy, I feel loved.”
The Wiggles star Anthony Field also shared a photo of him, writing: “Heart broken that we lost such a great man of Pellegrini’s and a friend to so many (including me) Sisto Malaspina , to a senseless act of violence in Melbourne. Sisto thank you for the love you gave us all, you will be missed mate. R.I .P.”
“I feel young, I feel happy, I feel loved.”
These words shared last month by Sisto Malaspina, owner of Pellegrini's Espresso Bar in Melbourne. Killed in yesterday's Bourke Street attack.
He loved helping others. Full of lasagne, love & “grand amore”. Our hearts are shattered. pic.twitter.com/uWJyYyRN5F
— Allyson Fonseca. (@_AllysonFonseca) November 10, 2018
Heart broken that we lost such a great man of Pellegrini’s and a friend to so many (including me) Sisto Malaspina , to a senseless act of violence in Melbourne. Sisto thank you for the love you gave us all, you will be missed mate. R.I .P pic.twitter.com/gjSAjgFV5I
— Anthony Field (@Anthony_Wiggle) November 10, 2018
Shorten shared the same photo on his own official account, writing: “Shocking, unreal and heartbreaking. I have been visiting Pellegrini’s since school. I just saw Sisto on Monday morning.
“He insisted I try a slice of his almond cake. He’s a Melbourne icon and a true gentleman. Impossible to imagine the devastation for his family and staff.”
Pellegrini’s is a well-known and much-loved establishment in Melbourne’s city centre, having been one of the first venues in the city to install an espresso machine. Malaspina has been running the Bourke Street cafe since 1974.
The cafe was closed over the weekend as a mark of respect, with a small sign sign on the door reading: “Due to an incident, Pellegrini’s will be closed until Monday 12th.”
It comes after Somali-born Australian Ali went on the rampage in Melbourne’s Bourke Street, stabbing three people before being shot in the chest by police.
Video footage showed him first driving his ute down Bourke Street and setting it on fire before attacking police and bystanders with a knife.
The 30-year-old, who was reportedly known to authorities, later died in hospital from his wounds. While Malaspina tragically passed away following the attack, multiple reports claimed the other two victims remain in hospital with non-life threatening injuries.