Gary Burgess dies aged 46

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JOURNALIST and broadcaster Gary Burgess has died aged 46.

The well-known Islander, who is survived by his husband Alan, passed away peacefully on Saturday.

Mr Burgess, who had worked for ITV Channel, Channel 103 and was a columnist for the JEP, had become a well-known figure in Island life, and received widespread praise for his reporting of the pandemic.

Last year he was awarded the rarely presented Silver Seal by the Bailiff, and was also named Community Champion of the Year in the JEP’s Pride of Jersey Awards.

Mr Burgess’s well-documented battle with cancer began in 1999, when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Although having spread to his chest and lungs, it appeared to have been successfully treated at the time with chemotherapy. He was diagnosed again in 2015 and underwent further treatment.

In November 2020, he was told that his cancer was terminal and that he had between six and 12 months to live.

Over the course of his treatment, Gary spoke about his experiences in his blog and in interviews with the local media.

In a final message, written for release after his death, Mr Burgess said: ‘I’ve had the best life. I’ve had the luckiest life. I met my soul mate and the love of my life who went on to become my husband.

‘I got to work with some of the most amazing people in newsrooms and studios doing the job I absolutely adore.

‘And I’ve been able to share my own relatively short time on this planet surrounded by friends and loved ones who have enriched my life in ways they may never truly understand.

‘My greatest sadness is the prospect of leaving all of that and all of them behind. The thought of doing that to Alan in unfathomable to process, but I also know the very people who’ve shown me love and support will now wrap those feelings around him in the coming days.

‘It’s time for me to hand over my microphone and keyboard for others to do the talking about me, so let my final words simply be “thank you”. Every person in my life has, in their own way, helped me live my best life. That’ll do.’

In a statement, Alan said: ‘I expect there will be many tributes made to Gary in the coming hours and days and I want to keep my words about him now as simple as I can.

‘Through his career in journalism and broadcasting, Gary would have seen every variation of words describing someone’s strength and bravery, their wit and humour, their kindness and generosity, their stubbornness and determination, their sense of mischief and their joy in life’s simple pleasures.

‘So, in an attempt to avoid cliché, I am just going to misquote a line of dialogue from the final episode of The West Wing, being one of Gary’s favourite programmes and something said with love and pride by one spouse to the other.

“You did a lot of good, Gary. A lot of good.”‘

The funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.

  • The JEP extends its sympathy to Mr Burgess’s family and friends.

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