Film director Jane Cho, wife of late musical theatre actor Michael Falzon, has issued a moving statement following her husband’s tragic death.
Falzon, 48, was a prolific musical theatre performer, best known for leading roles in productions of Rock of Ages, War of the Worlds and We Will Rock You.
He passed away last Tuesday following a battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, with performing arts publicist Ian Phipps breaking the news on social media.
On Monday, Cho paid tribute to Falzon, speaking of his bravery in his final days and sharing how proud she was of her husband’s positivity as he battled the disease.
The violinist wrote: “Michael’s family and I would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone for their kind words, tributes and support. The monumental outpouring of love for Michael is testament to the incredible man he was.
“I have always been very proud of Michael but I have been especially awed by his positivity and strength this past year. Even during his most trying days, Michael continued to put his loved ones first and his buoyancy provided comfort and calm to so many.”
She went on to speak of his incredible career, and “enormous contribution” to the musical theatre industry.
“Michael’s contribution to the entertainment industry was enormous. He was breathtakingly talented and adored his work, and he was also passionate about creating pathways and opportunities for others.
“We have been deeply moved by the beautiful tributes that have flowed throughout the week. It’s a moving reminder of how respected and revered Michael was in the industry he loved and dedicated his life to and what a profound impact he has had.
“Family, friends and fans alike knew Michael for his cheekiness, irreverence and abundant charm; the latter of which got him out of trouble too many times to count.
“We will remember him for his beaming smile, which was shadowed only by his giant heart.”
She concluded by sharing Falzon’s final wish to “shine a light” on germ cell cancer, and directed the public to a website to donate money for research.
“Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, where Michael was lovingly cared for during his treatment, is the largest cancer clinical trial centre in New South Wales. Research and trials are carried out by the same clinicians who treat patients, shortening the path between discovery and new treatments.
“For those wishing to show their love and respect, we have set up a fund in memory of Michael to collect donations specifically to fund research, trials and resources in this area.”
Donations can be made here at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse website.
A service to commemorate the late star will be held next week in Sydney and broadcast online, with details to follow.
Falzon’s musical theatre career was kickstarted in 2003 when he was cast in the lead role of Galileo in the Australian production of We Will Rock You.
From that breakthrough performance, Falzon starred in productions of The War of The Worlds- Alive on Stage (2007), Rock Of Ages (2011) and Evita (2018-19). He was forced to withdraw from what would have been his final production, last year’s Sweeney Todd, when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Last week, Falzon’s friend David Campbell led the charge of musical theatre figures paying tribute:
Campbell addressed Falzon’s death on-air as he hosted this morning’s episode of Today Extra on Nine.
“It came on quickly. Michael was healthy. He was newly married to his fabulous wife,” he said. “Any time an actor was out of work they just had to call Falzon and he would get him work. It was an incredible one-man industry he provided. He has gone too soon and too fast.”
In an interview with Studio 10 in October last year, Falzon – who lived an active, healthy lifestyle and was a vegetarian – called his diagnosis in May of 2019 “dumb luck.”
“It was a surprise – I was in rehearsals for Sweeney Todd, I’d just finished Evita, everything was going well, and then you get struck down,” he said.
He had no symptoms but underwent immediate treatment for the rare and aggressive form of germ cell cancer, cancelling all future performances and keeping fans updated on his treatment via social media:
“Because I am fit and healthy, it’s allowed me to have the most aggressive treatment for the type of cancer I had,” he told Studio 10. “It’s unfair for anybody … (but) it just happened. I’m not responsible for it.”