Legandary footballer, club president and great man Jim Stynes has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and footy club at this difficult time. Stynes played 264 games for the Demons, won the 1991 Brownlow Medal and acted as Demons president from 2008 until last month. He also worked closely with youth, empowering them to achieve their full potential through his charity The Reach Foundation.
Below are some of the messages of condolences that are coming through. Please feel free to add your own in the comments below.
SAM STYNES (WIFE)
"Jim Stynes’ died on tuesay the 20th of March at 8.20 a.m.. Jim was pain free, dignified and peaceful. Matisse and Tiernan were present. Not surprisingly, in his last week of life Jim continued to defy the odds and lived his life to the fullest attending the Melbourne vs. Hawthorn football match, his son Tiernan’s 7th Birthday celebration, The MFC Blazer Ceremony and a casual Friday night dinner at Toplinos in his much loved suburb St.Kilda. In his final days Jim was immersed with insurmountable love and tenderness surrounded by his family and some close friends in the comfort of his own home.
"On behalf of Jim my heartfelt thanks to all those who have so generously cared for, guided and supported Jim throughout his challenging cancer battle. The list of people to thank reaches far and wide but for now I would like to make special mention of those that went far and beyond the call of duty, Dr Grant Macarthur from The Peter McCallum Centre, Dr Grahame Southwick from the Australian Institute of Plastic Surgery, Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld from The Alfred Hospital, Dr Peter Sherwan from Freemasons Hospital and the team at Cabrini Palliative Home Care that combined with Jim’s fighting spirit resulted in Jim’s extended three year life journey.
"It is an incredibly sad time, however Jim in his passing, has made us see that in our grief that we can smile in our hearts for a beautiful man who will forever hold a special place in the hearts of many. Jim’s lesson is that life was to be challenged and treasured."
DON MCLARDY (MELBOURNE FOOTBALL CLUB)
"It is with deep sadness that I have to announce the passing of our great club champion and immediate Past President Jim Stynes after a courageous battle against cancer.
If there is a positive to be found from the last 3 years, it is that we have already had an opportunity to tell Jim in person what an impact he has made on our football club, and indeed our country.
There are few places in Australia that have not heard or been touched by the legend of Jim Stynes - the affable Irishman who left his homeland to chase a dream, and succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.
In the next few weeks, you will hear from many who will tell you about his magnificent playing record, and why Kevin Sheedy says he is the greatest story in the history of the AFL.
You will also hear from many whose lives have been changed by Jim, mainly through contact with his incredible youth organisation Reach . Not just great achievers such as Jules Lund, Trisha Silvers and the like, but hundreds of young kids who openly say Jim Stynes “changed my life”. Can there be a greater accolade than that?
I have been fortunate to be Jim's friend for many years, but became really close in the past few years as we worked together to try and rebuild our common passion - the Melbourne Football Club. His infectious personality - I call him the pied piper - saw me also get more heavily involved with Reach. So perhaps more than most I was able to see Jim close up.
Jim was a normal bloke - sometimes grumpy, sometimes quirky but always able to laugh at himself. But what an extraordinary talent. To see Jim work with young, troubled teenagers was inspiring. He not only showed those young people a way forward, he trained many of them to be inspiring leaders themselves.
When it came to our football club, Jim was equally as inspirational. He was able to gather our people together and harness their spirit in a time when many had lost enthusiasm. The first Foundation Heroes dinner - which raised $2 million in one night - was a Jim Stynes masterstroke that many thought was not possible. In two years, he rebuilt the base of our football club with his all inclusive style and virtually ensured our future would be secure.
His impact in so many areas has been profound, and I am sure the next few weeks will reinforce that. Perhaps this story best encapsulates Jim Stynes for me. He once told me that having cancer was a privilege. He said he had worked with many young people who had been in life threatening situations, and he never really knew how they felt. He believed having cancer would help him understand what those young people were experiencing, and make him a much better person to help them. Cancer a privilege – it takes a special person to consider that.
On behalf of everyone at Melbourne Football club, our deepest sympathies go to Jim’s equally courageous wife Sam and their two young children, Matisse and Tiernan.
AFL consecutive games record holder, Brownlow Medallist, Youth Leader, Victorian of the Year, OAM, MFC President – and arrived from Ireland when he was 18. Many people have contributed to our football club over its 150 year history, few leave an indelible mark. Jim Stynes will."