With his cheeky smile and head-turning good looks, it’s almost impossible to believe that Johnny Ruffo is battling life-threatening brain cancer.
But three weeks ago, the former Home And Away star’s life changed dramatically.
After heading to hospital with a migraine, Johnny was rushed into emergency surgery to remove a tumour.
Post-operation, the 29-year-old took to Instagram to share a picture of his serious scar as he awaited results.
Six days later, he updated his fans and loved ones with the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
“It was a bit of a shock and I’ve got an interesting journey ahead and a bit of a battle,” he wrote.
“I’m starting aggressive treatment for the next few months to fight the diagnosis of brain cancer. Please stay positive for me and I’ll try to update you guys on my progress xx.”
It’s understood Johnny has a type of brain cancer known as oligodendroglioma, which is particularly difficult to fight. As it grows like a web through the brain, it is almost impossible to remove by surgery alone and is often treated through neurosurgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The former X Factor star’s immediate family have now joined him in Sydney, where, alongside his girlfriend of two-and-a-half years Tahnee Sims, they are showering him with love and support to keep his spirits up as he fights for his life.
Mum Jill, dad Pascoe and older brother Michael flew out of Perth as soon as they heard the news, but now that the prognosis is worse than hoped for, it’s believed Jill has no plans of returning to her Bunbury base.
The mum-of-two was devastated when she found out how bad the cancer really is.
“After Johnny’s surgery they were all really hopeful that would be the end of it,” says a family friend.
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“Then when the test results came back, everyone went into a state of shock."
“They’re a very tight family – despite the fact that Jill and Pascoe separated 27 years ago – with solid working-class values, and this has hit them for six.”
Johnny’s priority at the moment is his health and treatment.
“Before this, Jill, Johnny and his girlfriend Tahnee were all quite active on social media,” says the family friend.
“But everyone’s put a wall up around Johnny now and no one’s posting.”
Adds the family friend, “We’re all hopeful he’ll be fine. But we know it’s going to be a long, hard battle for poor Johnny.”
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