Sydney sports journalist and broadcaster Rebecca Wilson, best known for covering NRL for News Corp, has died aged 54.
The Daily Telegraph confirms she lost a long and private battle to cancer this morning.
Her husband John Hartigan and sons Tom and Will this morning said: “Our amazing Bec lost her long battle against breast cancer early today.
“She passed away peacefully in the family home in Sydney while surrounded by her loved ones.
“Courage has always been a significant part of her DNA, no less in her desperate battle against her insidious disease.
“Rebecca kept knowledge of her illness a closely guarded secret. The majority of her friends, colleagues and indeed members of her family were unaware of the extent of her illness. She did so to limit their suffering.
“We are so proud that she was so fearless in her chosen role as a sports journalist. She brushed aside evil trolls, bullies and organised crime figures to prosecute her craft.
“She proved that women had an equally important role in sports journalism as her male counterparts.
“We dearly love and miss our Bec.”
Wilson was often known for her forthright opinions especially in Sport, sometimes crossing swords with networks, talent or sporting identities.
She was a TEN News reporter from 1984 – 1988 and ABC Sports presenter from 1992 – 1995. She joined Tony Squires on The Fat from 2000 – 2003 and 110% Tony Squires and was a panelist on NRL Footy Show and Big Brother offshoot Big Mouth. There was also commentary on Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Sunrise and more recently as a regular on SportsNight with James Bracey.
Karl Stefanovic also paid tribute to her this morning, saying “a real light had gone out” with her death.
Co-host Sylivia Jeffries added that Wilson had paved the way for female journalists to succeed in the traditionally blokey world of sport.