Paul Vautin's 'incredible' act in commentary after sad family tragedy

The rugby league icon is being praised for his courage after delivering the news while on air for Channel 9.

Paul Vautin, pictured here in commentary for Channel 9.
Paul Vautin revealed the news of his father's death while in commentary for Channel 9. Image: Getty

Paul 'Fatty' Vautin has won widespread praise around the NRL world for a beautiful on-air tribute to late father George, who died on Thursday at age 95. Vautin was in commentary for Channel 9 on Friday night for the clash between the Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney Rabbitohs, and revealed the heartbreaking news of his father's death at the start of the broadcast.

"Rugby league lost one of its greatest fans yesterday - and that fan was my dad George Vautin, who passed away at 3.10am on Thursday morning," Fatty said. "He loved his footy, he played footy in the 50s, he was a great fella.

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"We had lunch on Monday and then Tuesday he fell ill. I actually witnessed his last breath at 3.10am on Thursday morning.

"I want to thank the staff at the Redcliffe Emergency Hospital, who are fantastic, and also the palliative care people, who are brilliant. Dad - we're going to miss you. He was 95 by the way and I know his life was cut short but we're grateful for every single minute that we spent with him.

"He was a great husband to Leila, a great father to Geiffrey, Deborah, Paul and Russell. Dad - rest in peace champion."

Paul Vautin's parents Leila and George, pictured here at their wedding.
Paul Vautin's parents Leila and George. Image: Channel 9

Rugby league world hails Paul Vautin's tribute to dad

Commentators and fans were in awe of Vautin's moving tribute and the strength he showed to speak about his father's death on live TV. Racing analyst Chris Camilleri tweeted: "How incredibly well did Paul Vautin just talk about the passing of his father just then on Channel 9."

Adam Page responded: "Sterlo recently said there were two versions. There was 'Fatty Vautin' that the public would see on TV. Away from the camera, there was Paul Vautin. Have met him a few times. He is the definition of a champion bloke and loved his parents."

One fan wrote: "So professional and kept it together so well. The fact that he’s commenting on national TV is big from him too, big respect."

Another tweeted: "Rest in Love George Vautin. What a hell of a family you helped raise. Your son has been a Godsend to RL for 40 years at the highest level. Great tribute Paul Vautin."

And a third wrote: "It must have been incredibly hard for Paul Vautin to commentate tonight so condolences to him and his family." George Vautin played in the Foley Shield competition in North Queensland in the 1950s and won a premiership with Wests Brisbane in 1954.

Paul Vautin has been a mainstay in the Channel 9 commentary box for the last 31 years. He joined the network in 1992 and previously hosted the massively popular Thursday night Footy Show.

Before hanging up the boots he played 204 first-grade games for Manly, as well as 34 for Eastern Suburbs. He played 22 State of Origin games for Queensland and 13 Test matches for Australia, while also coaching the Maroons from 1995 to 1997.

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