SeaChange and The Dish actor Tom Long has been remembered as “the sweetest man” and “a sublime actor” after he died of a brain virus, aged 51.
- Long had been diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2012, when he was given two years to live
- He underwent aggressive treatment and was declared cancer-free in July
- However, he contracted a viral brain infection, which eventually claimed his life
Long’s colleagues in the Australian film and television industry took to social media to pay tribute to the actor, who grew up in Benalla, Victoria.
“The sweetest man, and a fine, fine funny actor. And a great pleasure to work with,” Sam Neill, Long’s co-star on The Dish, wrote on Twitter.
His SeaChange co-star David Wenham described Long as a “sublime actor and a beautiful human being”.
Comedian Jane Kennedy, a writer and producer for The Dish said Long was “one of the most modest and talented human beings I have had the privilege to work with”.
“One of the absolute good guys of the industry,” she said on Twitter.
Tweet from Sam Neill: “Very sad to hear we have lost Tom Long. The sweetest man, and a fine, fine funny actor. And a great pleasure to work with. Vale #TomLong”
Tweet from Jane Kennedy: “It’s so hard to acknowledge that one of the most modest and talented human beings I have had the privilege to work with has passed away. Vale Tom Long. One of the absolute good guys of the industry. My love and condolences to your family and the many who loved you.”
Long’s death was announced by his wife, Rebecca Fleming, via an Instagram account dedicated to documenting his cancer treatment and recovery.
“We are devastated to be losing such a loving and divinely beautiful man from our lives,” she wrote.
“He is our every day, our inspiration and our home base. He is now liberated from the shackles of a body that ceased to work.”
Tweet from Anthony Hayes: “Tom Long was the most precious human beings. All heart. All kindness. All love and humour. I’ll miss him dearly. What an honour it was to know you and share the world with you. #Vale #heartbroken”
Tweet from David Wenham: “Vale Tom Long A sublime actor and beautiful human being”
Long had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, in 2012, when he was given two years to live.
But the Australian actor embarked on a series of treatments, the most recent being CAR T therapy, which he travelled to Seattle, US, to receive.
He was declared cancer-free in July after taking part in the clinical immunotherapy trial. He told the Sydney Morning Herald “basically, I was cooked” before the treatment.
But he later developed viral encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, a few months later.
In November, doctors told his family the damage was so extensive there was nothing more they could do.
Ms Fleming emphasised it was encephalitis that killed the actor when announcing his death, saying he was cancer-free when he died.
“He is forever our teacher, guide and true love,” she said.
“We love you forever Tommy.”