‘Putting up a brave fight’: Ex-deputy PM Tim Fischer gravely ill in hospital

Former deputy prime minister and Nationals leader Tim Fischer is fighting for his life in Albury hospital following a decade long battle with cancer. Source: Twitter/ Michael Rowland

Former deputy prime minister and leader of The Nationals, Tim Fischer, is “gravely ill” in hospital following a decade-long battle with cancer.

The 73-year-old, who has faced a tough fight with acute leukaemia for 10 years, is currently being treated at the Albury Wodonga Cancer Centre, months after revealing his had turned to chemotherapy to fight the disease. ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland took to social media on Tuesday morning to share an update on his condition and sent his best wishes to the much-loved former politician.

In a post shared on Twitter he wrote: “My thoughts this morning are with former deputy PM Tim Fischer, who is gravely ill in Albury hospital. I am told he is putting up a brave fight. That’s the Tim everybody knows.”

It followed an initial report by The Australian claiming Fischer was gravely ill, suffering from the effects of his 10-year cancer fight.

Late last year Fischer appeared on ABC’s Australian Story where he admitted his prognosis was “not good”, with hope and prayer keeping him strong throughout the difficult time.

“It’s as it is. At three score plus 12, you take the cards that you’re dealt with and hope and pray,” he told the program back in November. It’s not the ex-politician’s first cancer fight as he was previously diagnosed with bladder cancer, prostate cancer and two melanomas – however this is the most serious.

The devastating news back then forced both Tim and his wife Judy to focus on the possibility of him not being around in the future. Judy admitted: “Obviously when you’re facing an illness as serious as what Tim is going through at the moment, it does focus your mind on what happens in the future.”

Tim revealed on the show he believed the health blow could be down to exposure to the chemical Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, his son Harrison, who has been diagnosed with autism, found it more difficult to discuss his father’s condition. He told the show in November: “I struggle to think about what he says with that, because it’s a bit sad that Dad’s not well and he could die any day, probably … It makes me feel really upset.”

At the time Tim had only just begun a new round of chemotherapy in Melbourne and while his prognosis remained unknown, he said he had hope knowing that his sons Harrison and Dominic, will be successful and happy. “I’m just so happy that Harrison has reached a degree of tranquillity and positive approach to his life,” he added on the program. “I will eventually leave this planet Earth, sooner or later, in the knowledge that Harrison is now far better placed than he was 10 years ago or 20 years ago.”

Tim served as Nationals leader between 1990 and 1999 before retiring from politics in 2001 to support Harrison. The former pollie and his wife first found out Harrison was autistic when he was just five-years-old, and Tim recalled the doctor’s “negative” tone while relaying the news at the time – apparently telling them it was unlikely he’d ever hold down a job or be able to live independently.

“It was shattering, it was disappointing, it was challenging. And initially I pushed back against it in a somewhat crazy way,” Tim explained on Australian Story.

It led to Tim realising he also had a mild form of autism himself, having had an unusual lifelong fascination with railways and transport. For Harrison, that fascination lies in politics – but unlike his father, he’s a Labor supporter.

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