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HomeHome And AwayFrom his X-Factor audition to his final dance, TV WEEK pays tribute...

From his X-Factor audition to his final dance, TV WEEK pays tribute to lovable joker Johnny Ruffo

In 2011, Johnny Ruffo, a 23-year-old concrete worker from Perth, went on The X Factor audition. “I’m a bit of a clown, but hopefully the ladies will like me,” he stated. “Hopefully they’ll like my voice and my dancing as well.”
He was liked by the ladies. At the auditions, he had the audience yelling. People adored him for whatever he did, whether it was acting, dancing, or singing, and his passing earlier this month sparked widespread grief.

After placing third on The X Factor under Guy Sebastian’s tutelage, Johnny received an offer for a record deal. He remained friends with Guy, working with him to rebuild his home and record a duet.
Johnny and Luda Kroitor were the winning couple on Dancing With the Stars in 2012. In the grand finale, he danced the cha-cha-cha shirtless, which made judge Helen Richey remark, “You should have taken the top off earlier, darling.”
Johnny had a successful year, supporting One Direction and placing his first two songs, “On Top” and “Take It Home,” in the top 30.

Johnny’s fame continued to grow. He debuted on Home And Away in 2013 as the gregarious brother of Spencer (Andrew Morley), Chris Harrington. Prior to beginning filming, he hadn’t surfed much, he admitted to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“But I tell you one thing: I can definitely carry a surfboard,” he laughed. “Nobody carries a surfboard as good as me.”
Chris’s stories included dishing up toxic mushrooms to Alf (Ray Meagher) and Leah (Ada Nicodemou) by mistake, being entangled in a romantic triangle with Denny (Jessica Grace Smith) and Casey (Lincoln Younes), and having lots of fun times with Irene (Lynne McGranger). Lifelong friends, Johnny and Lynne were known as “the son I never had” by Lynne and “one of my best friends” by Johnny.
Although Johnny was nominated for a TV WEEK Logie for Most Popular other Talent, he left Summer Bay in 2016 in search of other challenges. He had already started dating Tahnee Sims, whom he had met at a dancing class.
Johnny revealed that he had undergone brain tumour surgery the following year. After receiving radiation and chemotherapy, the cancer was deemed to be eradicated in 2019, however it later reappeared. In his words, he would “dig deep and beat this s* disease again” for his supporters.
Johnny has no intention of giving up on his passions. He debuted as prison guard Owen Campbell in the 2020 season of Neighbours, and in 2021 he dropped his farewell song, “Let’s Get Lost”.
He made a moving comeback to Dancing With The Stars in 2022. At the time, he declared, “I’m really glad to be back performing.” “I just want to dance again.”

On November 10, Johnny passed away surrounded by his loved ones and Tahnee. Numerous co-stars from his previous season of Home and Away also left tributes.
Ada called him “a true Aussie larrikin with a heart of gold,” while Andrew called him a “brother on and off screen”.
Lynne described him as “brave and cheeky” all the way through. She continued, “Fly high free from pain.” “You are missed.”

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