Legendary sports broadcaster and ‘voice of Origin’ Darrell Eastlake has died aged 75 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The booming voice of State of Origin battles died at a nursing home on the NSW Central Coast.
Eastlake’s death comes 13 years after he retired from his media career in 2005.
Darrell Eastlake pictured at a nursing home on the NSW Central Coast. The legendary broadcaster had been struck down by a series of illnesses including dementia
Darrell Eastlake pictured at the Channel Nine Wide World of Sports desk in the late 1990s
Darrell Eastlake, 73, with wife Julie. The couple had been married 22 years
Darrell Eastlake in his early days as a surf reporter on radio. He would go on to join the Nine Network in 1982 where he broadcast rugby league, motor racing and weightlifting in his distinctive style
Eastlake (left) seen on the Nine set during coverage of the 1998 formula one world championship with Alan Jones and a young Mark Webber (right)
His wife Julie was by his side through it all, his partner of 25 years, wife of 22.
She visited him every day at the Chamberlain Gardens Aged Care home at Wyoming on the NSW Central Coast.
‘I’m the only one who can still get a laugh out of him,’ she said previously.
LIFE AND TIMES OF DARRELL EASTLAKE
Began work as a Qantas baggage handler
Made surfboards and ran a Cronulla surf shop
Started in radio as a surf reporter in late 1960s
Called rugby league for NBN3 in Newcastle
Joined Nine Network in 1982
Covered the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games
Began commentating State of Origin in 1983
Spent 10 years calling rugby league for Nine
Was network’s main motor racing presenter
Left Nine in 2003
Retired from media in 2005
Died in 2018
‘Sometimes he forgets who I am, like Christmas Day one year he actually told me ‘thank you for coming to visit but you should be getting along to your family’.’
Julie said his short-term memory may have been fractured but his long-term memory was still sharp.
In 1993 he collapsed at a surf carnival and stopped breathing before being resuscitated.
‘He had a heart attack and actually died there on the beach and he had to cut back some commitments,’ said Julie.
‘Darrell wanted to keep doing the bikes and the cars, so he told Nine ‘you should get Ray Warren’, so they did and Ray began calling the league on Channel Nine.’
Eastlake said he made sure to watch ‘every game’ of NRL on television.
‘The game is great, it’s the bloody officials that are the problem,’ he said.
‘There’s nothing to worry about because all the rubbish is gone, all the high shots and head high tackles, there are brilliant games.’
He was a Sydney Rooster fan to his bootstraps, and despite their woes, he felt for Parramatta’s salary cap plight when the club ran into trouble in 2016.
‘Love my Roosters, I’ve been a Rooster all my life and I am glad they gave (Mitchell) Pearce another chance but Parramatta, I feel so sorry for them, this is the biggest drama they’ve ever had,’ he said.
Darrell Eastlake after retirement: Veteran broadcaster said despite his may ailments, he would be keep watching the State of Origin