Russell Gilbert was noticeably absent from the Hey Hey It’s Saturday 50th anniversary special on Sunday.
The 61-year-old comedian was a no-show at the beloved TV show’s highly anticipated reunion, despite many of his former co-stars turning out for it.
While no specific information was given regarding his whereabouts, his colleagues acknowledged his absence, citing health reasons.
No show: Russell Gilbert (pictured) was noticeably absent from the Hey Hey It’s Saturday 50th anniversary special on Sunday
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel Seven for comment.
Former Hey Hey It’s Saturday host Daryl Somers revealed Russell would not be appearing in the TV special in an interview with TV Tonight last Thursday.
‘There’s Molly [Meldrum], there’s Red [Symons]. I was hoping to have Russell but I don’t think he was quite up to it,’ the 70-year-old said.
Missing in action: The 61-year-old comedian was a no-show at the beloved TV show’s highly anticipated reunion, despite many of his former co-stars turning out for it. Pictured third from left with his Hey Hey It’s Saturday co-stars
‘I’ll try and catch up with him when I come back. But I put a tribute in there with Russell and some of the funny sketches that he has done.’
In September 2015, it was revealed Russell had undergone emergency surgery for a brain aneurysm.
It came after he was briefly reported missing, and just 24 hours later was admitted to the Alfred Hospital for surgery, reported the Herald Sun at the time.
Absent: Former Hey Hey It’s Saturday host Daryl Somers (pictured) revealed Russell would not be appearing in the TV special in an interview with TV Tonight last Thursday
Concerned friends and family came together in mourning and support when he disappeared following the tragic death of his ‘soulmate’, Rochelle Nolan.
His management issued a statement at the time in an attempt to stamp out any speculation.
‘Russell Gilbert underwent surgery today for a brain aneurysm,’ Profile Talent Management said.
Mysterious: While no information was given on his whereabouts, his past colleagues acknowledged his absence, citing health reasons
‘A long and slow recovery is expected. The family has asked that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.’
He had briefly gone missing just hours after he was unable to muster ‘the strength’ to attend the funeral of ‘his soulmate’, Rochelle Nolan.
Russell’s fiancée and de facto wife of 19 years was found dead at the Crown Casino hotel in Melbourne in September 2015.
Health issues: In September 2015, it was revealed Russell had undergone emergency surgery for a brain aneurysm. Pictured at the Man of Steel premiere with his late partner, Rochelle Nolan, in Sydney in June 2013
Hundreds of Australia’s most recognisable faces attended the funeral service in Melbourne to pay their respects.
‘As you could all imagine, today is the hardest day of my life! It is with great sadness that I do not have the strength to be here with you all today, I’m just not ready to say goodbye,’ read a message from Russell in the order of service.
‘We were together for 19 years and I will miss you my darling. I had so much love to give you and I wanted only to be with you.
Tragedy: Concerned friends and family came together in mourning and support when he disappeared following the tragic death of his ‘soulmate’, Rochelle. Pictured together at the premiere of Trainwreck in Melbourne in July 2015
‘Sometimes things must come to an end, and sadly this is ours my soulmate and friend.
‘These are the words I have spoken, oh how I wish that you were not broken. You’re in my heart and soul forever. I’ll miss you my darling.’
Russell signed off by thanking his supporters for their words of comfort and said he would ‘see them all soon’.
After Rochelle’s death, Russell opened up about her struggle in a heartbreaking post on Instagram.
He said: ‘To all our friends, my partner of 19 years passed away. She was an angel, mental illness is part of life, I was just trying to look after her.
‘Saw what was going on and she had put a plan in place, look out for someone close, when you see the signs.
Devastating loss: Russell’s fiancée and de facto wife of 19 years was found dead at the Crown Casino hotel in Melbourne in September 2015. Pictured together in Melbourne in October 2006
‘Thanks to you all I will miss her. RIP Rochelle. Please don’t worry for me. I will remember Rochelle before she got broken.’
Russell found national fame in the late ’80s as a performer on The Comedy Company, before making regular appearances on Hey Hey It’s Saturday and Thank God You’re Here.
He had previously spoken out about his gambling problem, saying he once sold a house and spent the money before buying a new one.
‘There’s Molly [Meldrum], there’s Red [Symons], I was hoping to have Russell but I don’t think he was quite up to it,’ said Daryl Somers of Russell’s absence
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