The mourning friends and family of Home and Away actor Johnny Ruffo appeared crushed as they gathered at his funeral service on Saturday at Balcatta Senior High School in Perth.
After a protracted and valiant battle with brain cancer, the actor and singer, 35, passed away quietly in a Sydney hospital earlier this month.
In attendance were more than 500 individuals, including Ruffo’s distraught girlfriend Tahnee Sims.
In a moving address, Tahnee remembered how Ruffo maintained his sense of humour right up until the end, remembering his “big cheeky grin” that “had brightened even the darkest of days,” according to the West Australian.
Tahnee remembered, in poignant moments, finding out about Johnny’s cancer four years into their relationship.
The reason the cosmos had paired them sooner, she claims, became abundantly evident after hearing the news. A later was not going to happen.
As Tahnee described her intense love for her soulmate, not a single person in the house failed to cry.
“I will always be grateful because I know that not everyone gets to experience that kind of love,” she remarked.
John used to claim that I was his angel of protection. However, soulmates seems more true to me. He multiplied my generosity tenfold. She went on, “And the majority of the time, he was my source of courage and strength.”
I observed him for six and a half years as he faced a horrifying cancer diagnosis, endured setback after setback, yet continued to act bravely and gratefully until the very end.
I shall miss everything about John in the world. Above all, John, I adore you. Until we cross paths again, I will miss his ability to make me laugh no matter the situation or how offensive the joke was.
A booklet with Lady Gaga song lyrics and photos of Tahnee and Johnny under the title “A Forever Love” was distributed during the memorial.
Among the mourners were Ruffo’s co-stars from Home and Away, including longtime soap opera star Lynne McGranger, who gave a heartfelt eulogy in which she recalled the actor’s modesty and sense of humour.
“People who were closest to him were aware that he had dedicated his entire life to achieving that moment,” she stated.
He exuded a gentleness that kept him modest and grounded. In addition to being an amazing boxer, he was a kind and compassionate friend to a great number of people.
Before entering the memorial clad in black, Lynne had managed to grin with friends.
Michael, Ruffo’s brother, also gave a moving speech in which he recalled how Johnny had always been the same since they were kids.
From the day of his birth until the day he said farewell, John remained the same. He explained, “That’s why he was so special.”
You will always be a part of our memories, and the way you touched each and every one of our lives demonstrates just how giving and unselfish you truly were. I shall always love you.
Acting as the MC for the service, seven journalist Mark Gibson remarked that Ruffo has that “rare indefinable charm that makes you a star.”
After that, Jill, Ruffo’s mother, gave the school a plaque to honour her son, which would be displayed in the performing arts complex.
Prior to the performance, loved ones were seen filing into the space. Some were crying, some were embracing, and some were carrying flowers to lay in memory of the late singer and actor.
Ruffo’s family made information about his public memorial service, which took place at his old high school, public earlier this week.
On Monday, Johnny shared details about the memorial on Facebook along with a grinning picture of him wearing a tuxedo.
The note said, “November 25, Balcatta, Western Australia, 6021, 12:30 p.m., memorial service: Balcatta Senior High School.”
“No cameras or filming at all.”
The actor passed away on November 10 while surrounded by his loved ones and partner Tahnee. His untimely passing was revealed in a message posted on his Instagram page.
A statement said, “We had to say goodbye to our beloved Johnny today with a heavy heart.”
“With the help of some amazing nurses and doctors, Johnny passed away peacefully, surrounded by his partner Tahnee and family.”
After Ruffo visited the hospital in 2017 due to excruciating migraines, he was initially diagnosed with brain cancer.
He had a 7cm brain tumour surgically removed from his frontal lobe in August of that year after being sent for chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
After receiving his first diagnosis in 2017, Ruffo experienced months of remission before disclosing that the illness had resurfaced in November 2020.
He disclosed in August 2022 that his brain cancer was terminal and expressed concern about Tahnee, his partner, handling his loss.
In December 2022, Ruffo announced he was looking out to a holiday and spending Christmas with his family as he commemorated another year of receiving chemotherapy.
Ruffo was born in the Balcatta area of Perth. He got his start in show business in 2011 when he made it through the audition process for The X Factor Australia’s third season. He went on to star in Home and Away.