Rex Hunt news leaves AFL world saddened after Sam Newman's devastating revelation

The AFL icon has spoken openly about his battle with mental health issues and bipolar depression.

Rex Hunt, pictured here with Dustin Martin after Richmond's triumph in the 2017 AFL grand final.
Rex Hunt with Dustin Martin after Richmond's triumph in the 2017 AFL grand final. Image: Getty

Sam Newman has revealed close friend Rex Hunt is back in a care facility and being treated for mental health issues. The former Richmond, Geelong and St Kilda player first admitted himself into a facility in July, and has spoken openly about his battle with bipolar depression.

The 74-year-old was again admitted into a care centre in Melbourne on Friday. “It is well documented that I am a friend of Rex Hunt and I worry for his present state of mind,” Newman told News Corp. “He should give himself a break from public life and focus on his wellbeing spiritually, physically and mentally. He is a good friend, and we all want the best for him.”

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The news comes after Hunt attended an AFL finals function just last week. Long-time friend John Locco said: “We are hopeful that over time that he can make steady progress to recovery and there are many people in support of Rex who wish him well in his current situation.”

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In January, Hunt was driving along the Princes Highway towards Geelong at 2am when he pulled over and called police for assistance. He was then taken to hospital.

“Rex was a good footballer, he played in two premierships, and he has been a great radio caller and a world-class fisherman … and despite all of that, Rex, he is having some mental problems,” Newman said on his 'You Cannot Be Serious' podcast at the time.

“We are trying to support him to say ‘Rex, you have got to help yourself before everyone else tries to help you’. He is not in a good place, but he should, if he has got any experience in life about what made him a good footballer or what made him good on the radio or what made him a world-class fisherman, if he used those principles to try and guide him, he might take a turn for the better.”

Rex Hunt opens up on mental health struggles

Speaking on the same podcast in May, Hunt said: “Life will never ever be the same. Mental illness is a nasty word for some, but until it happens to you, I had no idea the ups and downs your mind goes through when you are suffering what I am suffering."

The AFL icon said he was talking about the issue to help people understand what someone can be going through. “If I can help somebody to understand that you can be what is normal, or quite normal in your particular mind, and the next moment you are in a straight jacket down in a facility," he said. “It is a chemical imbalance in the brain and I have been diagnosed with bipolar depression, high highs and low lows.”

Rex Hunt at the Brownlow Medal in 2005 with wife Lynne.
Rex Hunt with wife Lynne at the Brownlow Medal in 2005. (Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Hunt lifted the lid on his sad family breakdown as a result. “I hold myself totally responsible for what has happened, but it is a very private thing between (wife) Lynne and I, but we are working on it,” he added. “My children certainly aren’t (close). The whole family has busted up, simple as that, it is very, very sad, but things happen."

Hunt played 202 games across an 11-year career with Richmond, Geelong and St Kilda. He won two premierships with the Tigers and was invited to celebrate with the players when the club won again in 2017.

After his retirement from footy he forged a successful commentary career and was the star of iconic TV show 'Rex Hunt's Fishing Adventure'. AFL fans and pundits have been rallying around the 74-year-old icon after the latest development.

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