Jon English regularly performed at the Sawtell RSL. Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate
Jon English regularly performed at the Sawtell RSL. Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate Rob Wright

Local fans recall Jon English benefit show during floods

JON English will be remembered by fans in the Clarence Valley as a community minded person who never let fame go to his head.

The iconic Aussie rocker died aged 66 after suffering complications from surgery.

TRIBUTE: Australia mourns Jon English, dead at 66

English lived at nearby Boambee and made sure to "play Sawtell once a year to keep the locals happy".

He also regularly played at Grafton and when English last performed at the Grafton District Services Club on September 6, 2014 he said he had fond memories of playing in the Jacaranda City.

"We used to play in Grafton all the time in the 80s so basically we've been very lax about it," the entertainment legend said at the time.

Grafton resident David Bancroft remembered English putting on a benefit concert in Grafton.

"I remember him getting stuck in Grafton during a flood in the late '80s," Bancroft said.

"Instead of moping and whingeing, he quickly organised a benefit concert to help those who had been affected by the flood.

"All proceeds from the concert were donated. A very community minded and decent person who never let fame got to his head."

During his last visit to Grafton, English revealed he was penning his own autobiography.

"They just phoned up and said they wanted a book and were offering up all these ghost writers," he told The Daily Examiner.

"I fancy myself as a bit of a writer so I told them I was going to have a lash at it. There's a lot of catching up as it's a big long story.

"There are so many aspects to it. TV, theatre, rock n roll and touring, all sorts of stuff. I think it will be therapeutic. I just have to try and remember it all."

The singer-songwriter rose to stardom in the 1970s after playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.

The singer was planning to travel to Sweden this month to begin recording a new album, with plans to start a new rock show in April or May.

The official Jon English - The Rock Show Oz Edition Facebook page posted a statement this morning confirming the sad news.

"It is with the deepest sadness and the heaviest of hearts that we confirm the passing of Jon English," the statement read.

"Jon died peacefully last night, aged 66. The cause of death was post-operative complications.

"At the time of his passing he was surrounded by his four children and other close family members.

"A public service celebrating Jon's life will be held with details to be released shortly.

"We are needless to say completely shocked and devastated by this enormous and unexpected loss. The music industry, and indeed the world, has lost an incredible talent and the biggest of big hearts.

"We are inconsolable and will miss you immeasurably."

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