belfasttelegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Ex-Linfield player tells of his grief at TV pal's death

Former Linfield footballer Norman Kelly last night paid tribute to his close friend, the Australian actress Belinda Emmett who has died of breast cancer, aged just 32.

Former Linfield footballer Norman Kelly last night paid tribute to his close friend, the Australian actress Belinda Emmett who has died of breast cancer, aged just 32.

The Home and Away star was diagnosed with the disease in 1998 when she was just 24.



She then suffered a secondary bone cancer in 2001 and passed away on Saturday.

Ironically, her death came on the same day another former Aussie soap icon, Neighbours' Kylie Minogue, launched her comeback following breast cancer treatment with an emotional concert in Sydney.

Norman said that the news of Belinda's death came as a total shock.

"I met Belinda when I was living in Australia and playing for Canberra," said the 36-year-old footballer.

"Years ago, she went out with a friend of mine, one of my team-mates.

"Belinda and I were very good friends and we kept in touch.



"The last time I saw her was a few years ago."

Dundonald native Norman, who is now a director of coaching at a junior soccer club in the USA, praised how she handled her illness.

"My parents contacted me to tell me the news. It came as a shock. I thought she was doing really well.

"She was so young, energetic and enthusiastic about wanting to beat the illness," he said.

Australian prime minister John Howard said he was saddened by the actress's death and commended her "very courageous battle against cancer".

Belinda's husband, TV talk show host Rove McManus, whom she married last year, was at her side in hospital when she died, along with family members.

She played Rebecca Nash in the hit Aussie soap between 1996 and 1999.

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