Pat O'Shea - a legendary voice and ambassador

Pat O'Shea
Pat O'Shea Kevin Farmer

UPDATE: THE Darling Downs community has been left reeling by the shock death last night of renowned broadcaster and sporting identity Pat O'Shea.

O'Shea, 64, passed away in Toowoomba's St Andrew's Hospital after a short illness.

The multi-media personality and veteran race caller underwent bowel cancer surgery on Monday and was placed on a breathing machine as part of his post-operation recovery

In a family statement issued at 9.30 last night O'Shea's son James confirmed his family was at his bedside when the decision was made to turn off his life support.

"Our family made the tough decision to switch off all the machines Dad was on after receiving news from the pathology report," James said.

"Even if he made it through the operation the outlook was very grim.

"Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and well wishes for my family."

O'Shea became a household name during a Toowoomba media career spanning 44 years.

He began his Downs broadcasting marathon at 4AK before moving to 4GR and later 4WK.

O'Shea made his debut on Darling Downs television in 1978 while working as a high rating sport presenter and rugby league caller on 4GR.

He was beamed five nights a week into southern Queensland homes for 34 years before his television career ended in 2012 during restructuring by WIN television.

O'Shea excelled in all forms of sport broadcasting including boxing, athletics, harness racing, greyhound racing and rugby league.

O'Shea and the late Des McGovern formed a 36-year partnership calling Sunday afternoon Toowoomba Rugby League matches up until McGovern's retirement from the airwaves at the end of the 2009 season.

But O'Shea's true passion was thoroughbred calling.

He called his first gallops race at Tara on Melbourne Cup day in 1970 but didn't get his breaking into full-time calling until he took over from the late Bob Mahoney at Clifford Park during the mid-1980s.

O'Shea was due to call his 30th Weetwood Handicap in May this year but was denied the opportunity by a decision from Sky Channel which opted to replace him with its number one Queensland caller Alan Thomas.

His final night calling races was at Clifford Park on August 22 while he continued in his announcing and racing anchor role at community radio station 102.7 FM up until entering hospital late last month.

Long-time Toowoomba horse trainer Richie Stephenson enjoyed a 40-year friendship with O'Shea who he described as a man of compassion.

"Pat was a great friend of mine and to many people," a shocked Stephenson this morning.

"A more compassionate man you would not find anywhere in the world than Pat O'Shea.

"Professionally he could communicate with anyone in the street to people in the highest office.

"He was a self taught man who unfortunately we will never see the likes of again.

"This is a very sad day for Toowoomba."

O'Shea is survived by his wife Cecile, son James, daughters Kate and Karen, three grand children and his brother John.

EARLIER: Toowoomba race caller Pat O'Shea has died after a short battle with illness last night.

O'Shea has called the races at Clifford Park for more than 30 years and started his career in the media in the late 1970s.

Apart from a year in Brisbane with radio station 4KQ in the mid-1970s, Mr O'Shea spent most of his life in Toowoomba.

He was well known for his race calling at Clifford Park, commentary on a variety of sports and direct involvement in a number of sports in the Garden City.

Topics:  horse racing pat o'shea toowoomba

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