Hey Hey It’s Saturday former host Daryl Somers has shared a touching update on friend and colleague John Blackman’s cancer battle.
Fans were left shocked just days ago after hearing the devastating news that legendary TV and radio star Blackman has been suffering with the disease in secret – leading to doctors telling him he’d have to have his whole jaw removed.
The 71-year-old comedian revealed in an interview with Nine’s A Current Affair on Tuesday night that the cancer is slowly spreading around his mouth and in to his jaw bone.
On Thursday night, Daryl confirmed on Facebook that John’s 11-hour surgery to remove the cancer last Friday was successful and surgeons are happy with the results.
“Having come through this operation, he now moves into a period of recuperation and rehabilitation over the coming months,” he wrote.
Reminiscing on their times together, the television personality praised John for his fighting spirit.
“I was fortunate to spend some time with John and Wilbur Wilde the day before the operation, reminiscing about the 30 years of Hey Hey and, as usual, much laughter ensued,” he explained. “John was in top form before the big day, but he was also resigned to the fact that he may not be able to resume his career (50 years so far).”
However, Daryl added that John’s most important message was to spread awareness of cancer and the importance of regular skin checks.
“I realise this situation is happening to families all over Australia, such is the prevalence of skin cancer. So I can only emphasise John’s ardent wish for us all to be vigilant regarding this insidious disease,” he said.
“I love John as a brother. I find it surreal to write about this and wish there was a way to make his dilemma disappear.”
During Tuesday night’s episode of A Current Affair John was seen pointing to one side of his mouth, which was visibly swollen and larger with the size of the tumour, before slowly working his hand round to the other side and explaining the cancer is likely to spread right round.
“It is swollen and it is now, I think, moving to my jaw bone and that’s causing me a bit of pain as well. In fact, a lot of pain,” he said.
While his tearful wife added: “This is shocking for us.”
John has worked in radio since 1969 but is best known for his 28-year stint on Hey Hey It’s Saturday.