THE brain tumour that had shadowed a young father for five years finally got the upper hand on Wednesday night, when Robbie Stewart passed away in Moruya Hospital.
The 25-year-old with so much left to do was rushed to hospital on Tuesday evening with a suspected brain haemorrhage and died 24 hours later, his family and friends by his side.
“We lost Rob last night at sunset,” his partner Carlie Remm and the mother of his daughter Melody, three, said yesterday.
“Melody gave him a kiss and cuddle and said ‘Goodnight, love you, Daddy’. Not long after she left, he was gone.”
On Sunday, Mr Stewart had been planning to run onto Moruya’s Ack Weyman Oval in a Moruya Sharks’ jersey with an Aboriginal motif, as part of a NAIDOC celebration.
Supporters had been raising funds for the Yuin man to fish Kakadu with his father Ronald Stewart, of South Head, but his condition deteriorated suddenly.
“I can’t describe the type of loving person Robbie was, so full of love for all his family and friends,” Ms Remm said.
“Saying he’s going to be missed is an understatement. He is very loved in Moruya.”
Shortly before his sudden downturn, Ms Remm had written a moving account of Mr Stewart’s illness.
Mr Stewart was diagnosed in 2007, undergoing surgery and radiotherapy.
“Everything appeared well, other than a bit of memory loss,” Ms Remm said.
Encouraged, the young couple had their “beautiful baby girl” the following year “and lived life fairly normally”.
However a regular scan in September last year showed the tumour’s resurgence, and he underwent surgery.
“True to his old self, he was out of bed and walking around in a couple of days,” Ms Remm said.
“Other than a nice black eye and a scar, he was doing well, but he did lose a bit more of the personality we love about him.”
After six months of chemotherapy, the family was devastated to learn the tumour was larger.
Mr Stewart underwent his third and toughest operation in March.
“It knocked Rob around a lot, he just wasn’t himself after this one,” Ms Remm said.
The prospect of more radiotherapy was too much.
“He didn’t want to spend weeks in Canberra being sick when he could be home with his family,” Ms Remm said.
A scan last month showed the tumour growing rapidly, “covering the whole left frontal lobe of his brain”.
His health was deteriorating and doctors warned in a few weeks he would be paralysed on his right side.
It was unlikely he could withstand further surgery.
“This sort of cancer cannot be cured,” Ms Remm said.
Yet no-one was ready for his sudden decline this week.
“We thought we had more time,” Ms Remm said.
The family thanked medical staff, especially Dr Tim Shepherd who was “with us through the whole journey”.
A fundraising kids’ fun day and sausage sizzle will still go ahead on Saturday at Tomakin Park at 12pm and Mr Stewart’s nephews are likely to run out in his
honour at Sunday’s football game.