Jarrod Lyle said he felt like the “luckiest golfer going around” just before losing his life to cancer.
Lyle died on Wednesday night (AEST), eight days after deciding to go into palliative care following a third stint of cancer treatment, with his death announced on Thursday morning.
Lyle, who had beaten acute myeloid leukaemia twice before, recorded a message with Golf Australia’s Mark Hayes shortly before he died at the age of 36.
It was played on Golf Australia’s Inside The Ropes podcast on Tuesday, Hayes introducing the audio as a response to the question: “Jarrod, what would you say to all the people who have given you so much thanks and well wishes?”
“I feel like I am the luckiest golfer going around because so many people took an interest in me and took an interest in, my, I guess, my fight,” Lyle said.
“You know, to have so many friends around the world, whether they’re spectators, whether they’re golfers, whether they’re marshals, whatever – to have that kind of support to go to every tournament is a great feeling.
“It is going to be hard to leave that behind. They know that I love them.
“They know that all the fighting that I did do was to get back out and play golf again.
“To have the support from all those people, it was just a tremendous feeling.”
Lyle then acknowledged his fate before thanking the public one final time.
“It is going to be hard but at some point, it is going to happen,” he said.
“They [public] will get on with their lives. I just feel very, very lucky.”
‘A river of tears’
The tributes for Lyle flowed on Thursday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull leading the way.
“He is a real example of courage,” Turnbull said at a media conference.
“We mourn him, we admire him and we send our love and heartfelt sympathy to his family.”
Turnbull also called Lyle “a hero”, while top Australian golfer Jason Day said the Victorian was an “inspiration”.
“Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend Jarrod Lyle,” he posted on Twitter.
“Jarrod will forever be an inspiration to us all … rest easy mate. We will miss you.”
Fellow Australian Greg Chalmers said he was overcome with emotion when he heard the news.
“It is through a river of tears I say goodbye to my friend Jarrod Lyle,” Chalmers posted.
A wonderful father, friend and golfer. Quick with a joke, didn’t mind a beer, and just a pure joy to be around every day. Miss you mate. RIP.”
South African Ernie Els said Lyle’s courage would be forever remembered, while Francesco Molinari – who won the The Open last month – added it was “tough times for everyone on tour”.
“We are very sad to hear of Jarrod Lyle’s passing,” Els posted.
“He fought a good fight and will be forever remembered for his courage, strength, perseverance and the light be brought to all of our lives.”
Molinari added: “Incredibly sad news about Jarrod Lyle. Tough times for everyone on tour losing someone so special but I cannot imagine what he and his family went and are going through. RIP.”