Last week, Red Symons’ eldest son, Samuel, died aged 27 after losing his lifelong battle with cancer.
And on Monday’s episode of Australian Story, the entertainer and his ex-wife, Elly Symons, paid tribute to their son and revealed his harrowing journey from his diagnosis with brain cancer at age four.
The 69-year-old performer said learning that Samuel had a brain tumour was one of the worst moments of his life, though more was to come.
‘It was the first, most awful moment of my life,’ he said.
‘I can remember calling my father in tears and saying, “He has to have brain surgery. He’s four years old”.’
He added: ‘It’s…it’s still too awful to contemplate, so I don’t.’
In the episode, which originally aired in 2010 and was updated by Elly upon Samuel’s passing, The Hey Hey It’s Saturday star said there were times that he wondered if he shouldn’t ‘let his son go’ to end his suffering.
‘I contemplated the notion that perhaps we should “let him go”, was the expression,’ he told Australian Story.
Symons added: ‘I guess I sort of meant we should let go, as much as let him go. Maybe he will survive this, maybe he will die. Maybe that is a better option than performing this treatment. We wouldn’t have acted on it, didn’t act on it, but I wondered.’
It comes after the family released a statement on October 3 which said: ‘It is with the deepest sadness Red announces the passing of his beautiful son Samuel Symons.
‘Samuel passed peacefully overnight surrounded by his family. We ask that you please respect the privacy of Red and his family at this very sad and difficult time.’
Samuel had been a patient of Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre since he was aged four, when he was first diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Throughout his life, he also had secondary cancers diagnosed, including thyroid cancer at age 11.
In late May, he was awarded the Outstanding Achievement by a Young Volunteer Award at the Victorian Minister for Health Volunteer Awards for his life-long advocacy work for people living with cancer.
At the time, he was battling an aggressive brain tumour for a second time.
Samuel had been instrumental in establishing a home-away-from home for patients aged 15 to 24 battling cancer.
‘The important thing I think overall with any treatment is still being able to be you,’ Samuel told Ten News at the time.
‘I am proud of what I’ve been able to do here because more than anything I went through the system where this stuff didn’t exist.’