The Associated PressMELBOURNE (AP) — With a contagious smile, a sense of humor and a deep determination to keep playing golf, Jarrod Lyle endeared himself to people around the world in a long struggle against cancer.
The 36-year-old Australian golfer died Wednesday night at his home near Melbourne among family and close friends, the week after opting to forego further treatment and enter palliative care.
“It breaks my heart to tell everyone that Jarrod is no longer with us,” his wife, Briony Lyle, said in a statement released by Golf Australia on Thursday. “He asked that I provide a simple message: ‘Thanks for your support, it meant the world. My time was short, but if I’ve helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted.’”
Lyle, who won twice on the Nationwide Tour in 2008, was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia as a teenager and suffered recurrences in 2012 and 2017. He is survived by Briony and two daughters.
“Lusi, Jemma and I are filled with grief and now must confront our lives without the greatest husband and father we could ever have wished for,” Briony Lyle said.
“At the same time, we have been blessed and overwhelmed with the messages and actions of support from around the world and feel comforted that Jarrod was able to happily impact so many people.”
Lyle was diagnosed in 1999 and spent much of the next nine months in a hospital in Melbourne.
He gradually returned to golf and reduced his handicap to scratch before turning professional in 2004. He qualified for the Asian Tour in 2005 and started playing on the second tier of the U.S. tour in 2006.
After another setback he made an emotional comeback from 20 months out of competitive golf during the 2013 Australian Masters before using a medical exemption to play on the U.S. PGA Tour in 2015.
Lyle underwent a bone marrow transplant last December but last week decided not to continue with treatment after saying he’d “reached his limit.”
Lyle’s sense of humor and courageous comebacks made him popular with fans and fellow golfers.