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Hugh Jackman shared a heartfelt tribute to Brian Walsh on Friday following the news of the legendary TV executive death, aged of 68. 

The actor, 54, penned a lengthy statement on behalf of himself and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness.

In his statement, Jackman said he and Furness were ‘devastated’ over the loss of their ‘dear, dear friend’, who kickstarted the Hollywood golden couple’s careers.

‘For over 30 years, we have shared our lives professionally and personally,’ he wrote.

‘He championed both Deb and I at the very beginning of our careers. He believed in us, encouraged us, loved and supported us at every step of our lives.’

Hugh Jackman shared a heartfelt tribute to Brian Walsh on Friday following the news of the legendary TV executive death at the age of 68. The actor, 54, penned a lengthy statement on behalf of himself and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness

Hugh Jackman shared a heartfelt tribute to Brian Walsh on Friday following the news of the legendary TV executive death at the age of 68. The actor, 54, penned a lengthy statement on behalf of himself and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness

The Wolverine star went on to say that Walsh not only helped the pair in launching their careers in the film and television industry, but supported their ‘whole family’.

‘Brian was the most generous, thoughtful, creative and authentic of men,’ Jackman added.

‘He made a huge difference in the lives of so many – and we will never forget him. We are sending love to his family. May he rest in peace.’

In his statement, Jackman said he and Furness are 'devastated' over the loss of their 'dear, dear friend', who kickstart the Hollywood golden couple's careers

In his statement, Jackman said he and Furness are ‘devastated’ over the loss of their ‘dear, dear friend’, who kickstart the Hollywood golden couple’s careers 

News of Walsh’s death was announced on Friday morning. 

Walsh – who in a decades-long career in radio, film and television was responsible for many of Australia’s biggest biggest entertainment exports – was the prime mover behind the TV series Neighbours’ global success and the launch of the careers of stars Kylie Minogue, Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

The TV executive, who was most recently an executive at Foxtel, was described by the company as ‘an iconic figure throughout Foxtel’s 28-year history and one of the most admired creative leaders in Australian television’.

After working at a young age in radio, Brian joined Network Ten where he launched major network events, including the acclaimed Kennedy Miller mini-series Vietnam, The Bangkok Hilton, and The Dirtwater Dynasty. 

Legendary TV executive Brian Walsh - the man behind the Neighbours TV series and the careers of Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman has died at the age of 68

Legendary TV executive Brian Walsh – the man behind the Neighbours TV series and the careers of Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman has died at the age of 68

Marta Dusseldorp speaks as Sam Neill and Brian Walsh look on during the cast announcement of Foxtel's new original crime drama series 'The Twelve' in 2021

Marta Dusseldorp speaks as Sam Neill and Brian Walsh look on during the cast announcement of Foxtel’s new original crime drama series ‘The Twelve’ in 2021

Brian Walsh is responsible for the global success of the TV series and well as the international career of Kylie Minogue (above with Jason Donovan in Neighbours)

Brian Walsh is responsible for the global success of the TV series and well as the international career of Kylie Minogue (above with Jason Donovan in Neighbours)

Brian is also credited with responsibility for the international success of the iconic Australian family drama series, ‘Neighbours’ and launching the careers of Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce.

Kyle and Jackie O reacted live on air to news of Walsh’s death with genuine shock and sadness.

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Jackie O said: ‘Loved Brian. It’s a real shock…. He was very passionate. He was Foxtel.’

Kyle said: ‘Love to his family and friends and everyone at Foxtel. He was one of the nice television types.

‘That’s a shock to the system. When people you know die, it’s a shock to the system. We were close.’

Walsh created the Simply The Best season launch for the National Rugby League which featured Tina Turner, and was also the creative force behind rugby league grand final and State of Origin Entertainment shows and events.

He also acted as the publicist for the Australian concert tours of megastars, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, Ricky Martin and Barbra Streisand.

Two of Australia's biggest stars Jackman and Nicole Kidman (above) can thank Brian Walsh in part for their international careers as actors

Two of Australia’s biggest stars Jackman and Nicole Kidman (above) can thank Brian Walsh in part for their international careers as actors

At Foxtel, he had creative control over Australian television series including Wentworth, Upright, Deadline Gallipoli, The Kettering Incident, The End and most recently the award-winning and globally distributed series Love Me, Colin from Accounts and The Twelve. 

As tributes poured in for Walsh on Friday, commentator Prue MacSween described him  as ‘larger than life, a king maker and a true showman … loyal, genuine and a huge loss’.

Lisa Wilkinson said it was Brian who was responsible for her early TV career as a contestant  on the series Beauty and the Beast.

In a statement expressing the Foxtel Group’s profound sadness, CEO Patrick Delany said: ‘This is a very difficult day for the Foxtel Group family, for Australia’s creative community and the millions of Australians who watched and loved the stories that Brian bought to life through television.

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‘Australia’s creative community has lost a much-loved figure in Brian. For us, the loss is heavily felt.

‘At the Foxtel Group, Brian was a long-time mentor, a confidant, a colleague and an unwavering friend to so many. Today, we are grieving Brian’s passing. 

‘Our condolences go to his family and to those closest to him. We have lost an icon of Australian television that will never be replaced. Rest in peace, Brian.’

Brian Walsh died in Sydney on Thursday. 

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