AFL world in mourning over tragic death of Paul Dear at 55

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Late Hawthorn great Paul Dear is seen here during his AFL playing days with the Hawks.
Hawthorn great Paul Dear has died at the age of 55 after a long cancer battle. Pic: Twitter

Tributes are pouring in from footy fans around the country, following the tragic death of AFL icon, Paul Dear.

The Hawthorn great passed away at the age of just 55 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

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Dear was a premiership player and Norm Smith medallist with the Hawks in 1991, with the club confirming news of his death on Saturday.

The AFL great is survived by his wife Cherie, and their four children Harry, Nate, Maya and Calsher.

In a heartfelt tribute to the club legend, Hawthorn expressed its condolences to Dear's friends and family.

“Hawthorn Football Club is deeply saddened to learn the passing of premiership player Paul Dear,” the statement read.

“The club extends its sincere condolences to Paul’s family and friends.

“He was a loving husband and proud father to four children he adored immensely. Paul played 123 games for Hawthorn during a nine-year career spanning from 1987 to 1996.

“Arguably his greatest moment in the brown and gold came on Grand Final day 1991, helping drag the Hawks to premiership glory. Facing a deficit at the first break, Paul inspired a stunning turnaround, gathering 26 disposals and booting two goals in a Norm Smith Medal-winning performance.

“In retirement, Paul’s ability to inspire extended beyond the football field, as he bravely fought pancreatic cancer following his diagnosis in 2020. Through resilience and dedication, Paul and his family took control of their journey igniting a campaign called Dare to Hope, which raises awareness and funds in support others impacted by pancreatic cancer.

“Hawthorn’s Dare to Hope Match will take place next Sunday 17 July at the MCG, generating vital money for the dedicated Dare to Hope: Paul Dear Pancreatic Cancer Fund.

“Paul was an important part of the Hawthorn family, and our thoughts are with Cherie, Harry, Nate, Maya and Calsher during this difficult time.”

Pictured left, Paul Dear presents Conor Glass with his AFL jumper during Hawthorn's season launch in 2019.
Paul Dear (L) presents Conor Glass with his AFL jumper during Hawthorn's season launch in 2019. Pic: Getty

In an interview with the Herald Sun last year, Dear said he was not worried about dying, and was determined to enjoy his life while he still could.

“I’ve always had a very simple philosophy in life. When your time’s up, your time’s up," Dear said at the time.

"I’ve never worried about dying. Everyone is going to die, it’s just a matter of when. Our reflection was very much along the lines of, 'let’s not focus on the dying, let’s focus on living.'"

Broadcaster Andy Maher was one of many to pay tribute to the 55-year-old, whom he recently interviewed on Channel Seven's The Front Bar.

“Incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Paul Dear," Maher wrote.

“Took on his fight against pancreatic cancer with courage, positivity and a smile as broad as his shoulders.”

AFL media personality Stephen Quartermain added: "Vale Paul Dear. So very sad. What enormous courage Paul showed”.

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