Vale Johnny Ruffo, actor, singer and dancer

Johnny Ruffo (Image: Flickr/Wikimedia Commons)

Actor and singer-songwriter Johnny Ruffo has died aged 35 following a long battle with brain cancer.

A statement posted on Ruffo’s Instagram confirmed he passed away peacefully surrounded by partner Tahnee and family, going on to describe him as a “talented, charming and sometimes cheeky boy”.

“Johnny was very determined and had a strong will,” the statement read.

“He battled all the way to the end and fought as hard as he could. Such a beautiful soul with so much more to give. We all love you Johnny and will remember you for all the joy you brought to our lives.”

Ruffo was 23 years old and working as a concreter when he entered talent competition The X Factor in 2011, going on to finish third and gain a legion of fans in the process.

He backed it up with a first-place finish on Dancing with the Stars a year later, while also signing a record deal and opening for the likes of One Direction and the Backstreet Boys.

In 2013, Ruffo turned his attention to acting, appearing as Chris Harrington on Home and Away for more than 300 episodes between 2013 and 2016. He would also have a role in miniseries House of Bond.

He was given life-changing news in 2017 when doctors diagnosed him with brain cancer, with the singer undergoing surgery to remove a 7-centimetre-long tumour.

While Ruffo was able to return to some level of normality for a time, even appearing in four episodes of Neighbours, he confirmed in late 2020 that the cancer had returned, revealing his diagnosis was terminal in August of last year while promoting his memoir, No Finish Line.

“At some point, it’s going to get me but I’m still fighting,” he said in an interview on The Project.

“Looking up my diagnosis and my tumour and the average life expectancy was three years. For me, it’s now been five years so I’m already winning. My goal now is to try and help as many people as a can and also live a happy life.”