Australian golfer Aaron Lyle has passed away at the age of 36. Both in 1998 and 2012, Lyle announced he had recovered from myeloid leukaemia, but the disease returned last year. Lyle died on Wednesday, surrounded by his friends and family.
“It breaks my heart to tell everyone that Jarrod is no longer with us,” his wife Briony said in a statement from the family. “He passed away peacefully at 8.20 p.m. last night having spent his final week in Torquay among his family and close friends.
“(Daughters) Lusi, Jemma and I are filled with grief and now must confront our lives without the greatest husband and father we could ever have wished for,” she continued. “At the same time, we have been blessed and overwhelmed with the messages and actions of support from around the world and feel comforted that Jarrod was able to happily impact so many people throughout his life. Our humble thanks to you all.”
Jarrod’s wife said her husband had one “simple message” in his death: “Thanks for your support, it meant the world. My time was short, but if I’ve helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted.'” A selfless statement from a humble man and a brilliant golfer.
Last week, Jarrod announced that he would be ending his treatment and entering palliative care. “He has given everything that he’s got to give,” his wife wrote on Facebook July 31.
Former Australian golfer Mike Clayton told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Lyle “had a beautiful swing, with lots of flair,” and that he was a “guy that lit up every room he was in.”
“It’s a very sad day for everybody,” he added.
Top Aussie golfer Adam Scott paid tribute to Lyle, saying he was “just one of the best blokes there is.”
“I haven’t met a more positive person,” he added.
My heart breaks as I type this message. Earlier today Jarrod made the decision to stop active treatment and begin…
Lyle made a courageous return to the golf course in 2013 after beating back the cancer that was continuing to wreck his body. He recalled having tears in his eyes as he stepped up to the ball on the first tee, surrounded by friends and family.
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On the first tee at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in mid-November 2013, Jarrod Lyle could feel the tears forming in his eyes. It had been 20 months since he’d played in a competitive golf tournament, and there he was, inside the ropes, family and friends watching him prepare to hit his opening drive in the Talisker Masters, a PGA Tour of Australasia event. Everybody understood the significance of the moment, but kids tend to really bring out the emotion. So, when daughter Lusi, not quite 2, reached out from her mother’s arms to give her dad a hug, Lyle’s vision became blurry.
“That was the end of me, once that happened, I was an absolute mess,” Lyle told the media afterward. “I hit that first tee shot with tears all through my eyes.”
On that overcast day in Melbourne, Lyle had to fight back tears. Then again, fighting was something Lyle had become accustomed to since he received his initial leukemia diagnosis as a teenager. For more than half of his life, Lyle dealt with and fought the disease that begins in the bone marrow cells and spreads through blood. The battle, which lasted nearly 20 years, into adulthood and for a good part of his professional golf career, ended with his death Wednesday at 8:20 p.m. local time at his home in Melbourne, surrounded by his wife and daughters.
“It’s incredibly sad and it’s probably a blessed relief. It’s a very sad day,” said Mark Hayes, media manager for Golf Australia.
Tributes poured in on social media:
Incredibly sad news about Jarrod Lyle. Tough times for everyone on tour losing someone so special but I cannot imagine what he and his family went and are going through. RIP
— Francesco Molinari (@F_Molinari) August 8, 2018
Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend Jarrod Lyle. Jarrod will forever be an inspiration to us alI. Ellie, Dash, Lucy and I send condolences to Briony, Lusi and Jemma. Rest easy mate. We will miss you.
— Jason Day (@JDayGolf) August 9, 2018
We are very sad to hear of Jarrod Lyle’s passing. He fought a good fight and will be forever remembered for his courage, strength, perseverance and the light he brought to all of our lives. The world lost a good man. RIP Jarrod. – Ernie, Liezl, Samantha and Ben
— Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy) August 8, 2018
It is with a heavy heart and a mountain of tears that I say a final goodbye to my friend Jarrod Lyle. For 20 years he fought this disease like no one could. Thank you for touching us all in so many wonderful ways! RIP to a champion of a human.
— Tripp Isenhour (@TrippIsenhourGC) August 8, 2018
A fund has also been set up to help pay for his daughters’ education – and the pros haven’t held back from getting involved. Japanese star player Hideki Matsuyama announced he would be donating $50,000, with the Tiger Woods Foundation adding $10,000.
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) August 8, 2018
According to the The Times, Bryson DeChambeau said he would donate the $25,000 prize from winning the long drive competition at Bellerive on Tuesday.
A look back at Jarrod Lyle's spectacular hole-in-one at the famous party hole at the Phoenix Open in 2011. ⛳️?️♂️
Pure joy written all over the legends face! pic.twitter.com/c82s7F3qSj
— Odds.com.au (@OddsComAu) August 1, 2018
Absolutely devastated to hear of the heartbreak facing Jarrod Lyle & his family. I can’t imagine having to make a decision like this, but there is comfort in knowing how much love he is surrounded by. From family to friends to fans, everyone is with him on this impossible journey pic.twitter.com/wYMLOkMnM7
— Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman) August 1, 2018
Didn’t get to know Jarrod so well but I wish I did. The courage shown through his battle is an inspiration to all of us. He made the world a better place. RIP mate. https://t.co/0sGUyn74Mq
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) August 9, 2018
Pray for Jarrod’s friends family as they come to terms with this tremendous loss.