Australian media heavyweight Sam Chisholm has died after a short battle with illness. He was 78.
Chisholm passed away on Monday evening at the Sydney Adventist Hospital with his wife and daughter by his side, the family said in a statement.
The New Zealand-born executive spent more than four decades working in media, including 15 years as boss of the Nine Network.
He was appointed chief executive and managing director in 1975, aged just 35, before returning briefly in 2005.
“In that first role he was always regarded as a pugnacious go-getter,” a Nine spokesperson told AAP on Tuesday.
“The so-called ‘starmaker’ at Nine with a big chequebook and loud opinions.
“Nine recognises the unique role he played with the Network and for Australian television, and sends their condolences to the extended family and friends on his passing, in particular his wife Sue and daughter Caroline.”
Chisholm left Nine to join Britain’s Sky Television as chief executive in 1989, leading the company through its merger with a competitor to become BSkyB.
He retired from the pay television company in 1997, but remained on as a director for another two years.
Amid deteriorating health, he returned to Australia at the end of the 1990s. He underwent a double lung transplant in 2003, having been born with an enzyme deficiency that affected his lungs.
Chisholm was inducted into Australia’s television Hall of Fame in 2004, when he was also awarded a Gold Logie.
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his service to medical research and health organisations in Australia.