For many Australians, news that golfer Jarrod Lyle had decided to enter palliative care after a long fight with cancer came as a shock.
Lyle’s battle has been a long and well-publicised one, the 36-year-old having twice beaten acute myeloid leukaemia, once in 1998 and then again in 2012.
But after being diagnosed with a relapse of acute myeloid leukaemia last year, Lyle announced that a stem cell transplant, from his brother Lleyton, had been successful in January.
He then completed his first workout in 18 months in May. The golfer’s close friends were even excited by the prospect of Lyle returning to competitive golf, with the man from Shepparton, in central Victoria, planning a comeback less than two months ago.
“My family spent a good day with him on June 9 down at the house at Torquay,” a close friend of Lyle’s, Evan Gale, told Melbourne’s 3AW Radio on Wednesday.
“All the signs were looking good back then. The tests were going well.
“They were looking at potentially doing a comeback in 2020 at the Australian Open and Vic Open.
“The doctors were saying he was doing as good as he could be, so that was what he was aiming for.”
But on June 23, Lyle’s wife, Briony, announced on Facebook that the golfer had been re-admitted to hospital in Melbourne.
Jarrod has been admitted to hospital in Melbourne again. His eyesight is very poor, he is unable to walk or do much…
“His eyesight is very poor, he is unable to walk or do much unassisted, his speech is sometimes slow and slurred, he has tingling in his fingers and toes, and his weight continues to drop,” she said.
“He is terrified, as am I … his mood is the lowest it’s been in a very long time.”
Jarrod’s Facebook page then became a regular source of unfortunate news, as more than 10,000 followers were updated on his condition.
“I’m battling leukaemia for the third time, and I’m using this page to provide updates about my treatment and progress,” a note introducing the page read.
“A return to golf at any level is a long way off, but it’s still on my list of long term goals.”
There were photos of occasional smiles in addition to harrowing videos of him in his hospital bed and inspirational footage of him walking with the assistance of staff.
An update on July 28 boosted followers, as Lyle posed with thumbs up on a rare trip outside.
We managed to get Jarrod outside today. The last time he felt the wind on his skin was June 27. It was a huge effort to…
But that was the last post before the heartbreaking news that emerged on Tuesday night (AEST).
“Earlier today Jarrod made the decision to stop active treatment and begin palliative care,” an update read.
He has given everything that he’s got to give, and his poor body cannot take anymore.
“He has reached his limit, and the docs have finally agreed that they can no longer strive for a positive outcome.”
The reaction from his peers
“Just heard the news about Jarrod Lyle. Life is very precious and you have been so strong. We are thinking and praying for you and your family now more than ever,” South African golfing legend Ernie Els posted on Twitter after hearing of Lyle’s news.
“Life is precious and we all take it for granted too often – seeing the picture of @jarrodlylepga hugging his family with not long to live brought tears to my eyes. Peace be with you, you will be missed Jarrod x,” former world No.1 Luke Donald added.
Star Australian golfers Adam Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman also spoke about the news.
“He is one of the best blokes there is. Given all the difficulties he’s had since his late teens, he has lived the best life he could with the tough cards he has been dealt,” Scott said.
Day added: “We all love Jarrod. He’s such a good bloke. It’s not far he’s going through this.”
Leishman said: “I’m absolutely gutted for the whole family, Briony and the kids. It’s been a hard road for Jarrod for so long, and he has fought so hard.”
Lyle won two titles in his professional career and reached a career-high ranking of 142.