Cartoonist Bill Leak dies, aged 61

Bill Leak in his studio

The Australian’s editorial cartoonist Bill Leak has died in hospital of a suspected heart attack. He was 61.

Editor in Chief Paul Whittaker announced the news to staff today, describing Leak as “a giant in his field of cartooning and portraiture and a towering figure for more than two decades” at the newspaper and said he was “simply irreplaceable”.

“We will miss him dreadfully and our hearts go out to his wife Goong, his stepdaughter Tasha and his sons Johannes and Jasper,” Whittaker said.

“I know that many people at The Australian will be inconsolable over this tragic loss of such a good man.”

Leak died this morning in Gosford Hospital.

He won nine Walkley awards and 19 Stanley awards for his work, and was twice awarded News Corp’s cartoonist of the year.

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