‘X Factor Australia’ Star Johnny Ruffo Dead at 35

Johnny Ruffo, who rose to stardom after appearing on Australia’s The X Factor before taking on a role in the daytime soap Home and Away, has died aged 35. 

The singer and actor had received a terminal brain cancer diagnosis last year and on Friday, the news of his death was shared in an Instagram post on his account.

Several former judges from Australia's version of The X Factor shared their condolences in the post, with Spice Girl Mel B writing, “My heart just broke.”

Danii Minogue remembered Ruffo as the “cheekiest chap,” writing that “his voice, smile and dancing feet will be missed by so many. Thinking of his family in this heart breaking time.”

Ruffo was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 and underwent treatment for two years, per The Guardian. He entered remission according to the outlet, before announcing in 2020 that his cancer had returned.

“After an unexpected week of seizures and excruciating headaches it is with a heavy heart that I have to let you know I now have another huge battle ahead of me as my brain cancer has returned, though I will dig deep and beat this s--- disease again," Ruffo captioned an Instagram post from Nov. 24, 2020. Johnny Ruffo performs live on stage as a support act to One Direction during the matinee show at Hordern Pavilion on April 13, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.

He revealed in August 2022 that his cancer had become terminal. "Looking up my diagnosis and my tumor and... the average life expectancy was three years. For me it's now been five years, so I'm already winning," he told Australia’s Channel 10 last year, per the BBC

"At some point it is going to get me…,” Ruffo also said in the interview. “My goal now is to try and help as many people as I can."

Ruffo, who was born in Perth in western Australia, worked as a concreter and performed locally in an electro-pop band before he was thrust into the spotlight in 2011 when he auditioned for The X Factor, according to a report from 7 News in Australia. Channel 7 broadcast the reality music competition for the majority of the eight seasons it ran for between 2006 and 2016.

Ruffo ultimately placed third in the third season of the singing competition but went on to launch his music career with Sony Music Australia.

He released several singles and even a duet with his X Factor mentor, singer Guy Sebastian, and even won Australia's Dancing with the Stars in 2012, per 7 News. That same year, he supported One Direction, New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys, according to the outlet.

In 2013, Ruffo turned his hand to acting, taking on the role of Chris Harrington in the popular Australian soap opera Home and Away. The role earned him a nomination for Most Popular New Talent at 2014's TV Week Logie Awards — the country's main television awards show. Johnny Ruffo arrives at the "Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw" Australian Premiere on July 31, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.

Ruffo released a new song titled "Broken Glass' in 2019 after going into remission, according to 7 News, and before revealing his terminal diagnosis, he wrote a memoir titled No Finish Line, which was published in August 2022. Although he did not return to acting, Ruffo regularly shared details of his treatment and life with partner Tahnee Sims on his social media.

So proud to see this come to life 📚😃 ‘No Finish Line’ my first ever book will be out in stores on August 30 & available now for pre order through all good book stores! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as i did writing it 💜" he wrote on Instagram in July 2022.

Ruffo spent his final few months, according to photos he uploaded to his Instagram, traveling to places like Queenstown, New Zealand and spending time with friends and family.

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