Nine News icon Brian Henderson has died aged 89

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Australia’s longest serving newsreader, Brian Henderson, has died aged 89 after a long battle with cancer.

The retired TV icon, who anchored the Nine Network's news bulletin from 1957 until 2002, passed away at his Sydney home early Thursday morning.

At 88, Henderson chose not to have chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery when doctors detected a kidney tumor.

He had already survived bowel, prostate, throat and skin cancers.

An undated, supplied photo of Bandstand host and former channel Nine newsreader Brian Henderson on the Bandstand set. Source: AAP/Nine
Legendary television presenter Brian Henderson has died aged 89 after multiple battles with cancer. Source: AAP/Nine

"I'm not afraid of death — in fact, I welcome it," he told The Daily Telegraph in February 2020.

"I've had a wonderful life. How blessed can you be?"

He is survived by Mardi and their two children, Nicole and Jody. Henderson also had two children from an earlier marriage.

A 1990 supplied photo of former Bandstand host and channel Nine newsreader Brian Henderson on the Nine news set. Source: AAP/Nine
Brian Henderson anchored the Nine Network's news bulletin from 1957 until 2002. Source: AAP/Nine

Brian Henderson — 46 years on Australian television

Henderson, who famously always ended his bulletins with "and that's the way it is" or "the way it is”, was born in New Zealand on September 15, 1931.

He moved across the Tasman in 1953 after landing a job on Sydney radio station 2CH.

He shifted to the small screen in the late 1950s, hosting Bandstand and presenting Sydney’s weekend news on Sydney station TCN-9.

He was promoted to weeknight presenter in 1964 and continued to front Bandstand until its last episode in 1972.

After four years in the top news reading job, Henderson won the TV Week Gold Logie award for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television.

He won a second Gold Logie in 2013, when he was inducted into the TV Week Logies Hall of Fame.

Brian Henderson is inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame at the 2013 Logie Awards in Melbourne, Sunday, April 7, 2013. Source: AAP
Brian Henderson was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame in 2013. Source: AAP/Nine

In 2002 after 47 years on air, he told almost a million viewers it was “not goodnight, this time, but goodbye."

"Not the way it was, as has been suggested, but for the last time, the way it is ... this is Brian Henderson — a sad Brian Henderson — saying not goodnight, this time, but goodbye,” he said.

Henderson still holds the record for the longest-serving television news presenter and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2009 for his service in the television news and entertainment sectors.

A photo from October 21, 2002 when Brian Henderson announced that he will be retiring next month after 46 years. Source: AAP
At 71, Brian Henderson announced that he will be retiring after 46 years. Source: AAP

Tributes flow for TV icon

Current Nine News anchor Peter Overton said Henderson was “part of the fabric at Channel Nine” and was “the most trusted face on Australian television".

"He fought hard, he was peaceful and that's what gave the family so much comfort," Overton told Sydney's 2GB radio.

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Nine's Today host Karl Stefanovic said Henderson was "an absolute gentleman ... a total professional who provided guidance and inspiration for so many colleagues and generations who followed.”

Nine Entertainment chairman Peter Costello remembered Henderson as "iconic" and the face of news for a generation of Australians.

Nine news director Darren Wick said: “He was the epitome of credibility, reliability and clarity. He set the standard that we aspire to live up to every night of the week.

with AAP

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