Aussie TV stalwart Dr Harry Cooper opened up about two personal losses he’s endured in an emotional latest episode of Anh’s Brush With Fame.
The beloved TV vet, 77, choked back tears as he spoke about the heartbreaking news he received from his eldest child Tiffany in 2010.
The 37-year-old mum-of-three called her father to seek advice, complaining she was feeling sore on one hip. He told her to go see a doctor.
“The X-ray came back and I said, ‘Read it to me. Read the report.’ It said there was a ‘fuzziness’ on the head of the greater trochanter (between the hip and femur).”
“I said, ‘I want you to demand a biopsy. Don’t ask for it, demand it.’”
Cooper said he instantly knew something was very wrong with his daughter.
“I put the phone down, walked out to the veranda, looked to the sky and I said, ‘Take me. Children are supposed to outlive their parents. Take me.’ Because I knew what that meant … when you see fuzziness on the head of the greater trochanter, you know there’s a tumour there. Any vet in the world could tell you that,” he said, fighting back tears.
He was right – his daughter had colon cancer, and succumbed to the illness in February 2012.
“She fought it for 14 months, and then I lost her,” he said. “And the last thing she said was: ‘I love you, Daddy.’”
Cooper previously told Newscorp that after his daughter’s death, he leaned heavily on his two other children, as well as Tiffany’s husband (”the greatest guy in the world’’), but mostly his partner and “rock’’ Susan Sheeran.
Death of Harry’s beloved TV sidekick
Dr Harry’s popular lifestyle program Harry’s Practice ran for seven seasons from 1997 to 2003 – but midway through its run, viewers were stunned when his beloved TV sidekick Rosie the dog died suddenly. Cooper also opened up about this loss during his appearance on Brush With Fame.
He explained he was filming on the mainland in May 2000 when he got the call from his home in Tasmania to say that Rosie was not doing well.
“She had a tumour on her liver … it’s inoperable,” he said. “So I said to my colleagues in Launceston: ‘Don’t let her wake up, mate. Put her down.’”
Cooper choked back tears as he recalled his close bond with his beloved pet, who made it to age 11 and earned a huge fanbase among viewers of Harry’s Practice.
“I always said, I didn’t make Rosie … Rosie made me. Of all the animals in my life that I owe something to, I owe it to Rosie.”
Cooper said he received “something like 12,000 cards, letters and parcels” when Rosie passed. “Rosie will always be the best dog ever,” he said, his eyes filling with tears.
Anh’s Brush With Fame airs 8pm Tuesdays on ABC.
Originally published as Aussie TV legend’s personal tragedy