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Professor Chris O'Brien.

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Prime Minister of Australia

Media Release

Professor Chris O'Brien

05 June 2009

Chris O’Brien was a man of leadership, vision and courage.

He inspired people, both through his work as a cancer specialist and through his own three-year battle with an aggressive, highly malignant brain tumour.

Chris transformed his personal adversity into a national opportunity, using his experience to fight so much harder for cancer patients and their families.

Chris’s vision was for an integrated cancer treatment centre so that patients would no longer have to navigate their way through all the different elements of dealing with their illness alone.

His experience with cancer gave him the moral authority to advocate this model of integrated cancer care to the highest offices in the land, and he succeeded.

Just seven weeks ago, Chris and I were in Sydney together to launch the new Sydney Cancer Centre - Lifehouse at RPA.

Chris would not let us name this new centre after him. But it will be an enduring legacy to a great man, and a dearly missed friend.

On behalf of all Australians, I offer my condolences to Chris’s wife Gail and their children Adam, Juliette and James.

The Australian Government has offered the O’Brien family a state funeral in honour of Chris O’Brien’s contribution to the nation. The O’Brien family advised me this morning that they would be pleased to accept this offer.

It is only in exceptional circumstances that Governments offer state funerals.

I believe Chris O’Brien has been a truly exceptional Australian

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