AFL icon Rex Hunt is back in a care facility to be treated for mental health issues.
The Herald Sun first reported the colourful football identity was admitted into a care centre in Melbourne on Friday and has had friends across the football community reaching out to offer support.
The 74-year-old has bravely spoken about his long-term battle with mental health issues, but his situation has recently taken a turn for the worse.
His sudden deterioration comes after he just last week attended an AFL finals series function.
Hunt admitted himself into a facility in July and has previously been diagnosed with bipolar depression.
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The news of Hunt’s tragic turn was first shared by the TV and radio legend’s close friend — and divisive football figure — Sam Newman.
“It is well documented that I am a friend of Rex Hunt and I worry for his present state of mind,” Newman told News Corp.
“He should give himself a break from public life and focus on his wellbeing spiritually, physically and mentally. He is a good friend, and we all want the best for him.”
In January, Hunt was driving along the Princes Highway to Geelong around 2am (AEDT) when he pulled to the side of the road near Avalon Airport and called police for assistance.
After being assessed, Hunt was taken to a private mental health hospital in Geelong.
Speaking on Sam Newman’s You Cannot Be Serious podcast in May, Hunt said the incident saw him placed in mental health care for six weeks.
“Life will never ever be the same,” Hunt said.
“Mental illness is a nasty word for some, but until it happens to you, I had no idea the ups and downs your mind goes through when you are suffering what I am suffering.”
Hunt said his mental health started to decline seven years ago after he became hooked on pain killing opioids following surgery for a debilitating neck injury.
“I overdosed on opioids and went downhill very, very quickly,” he said.
“I am completely off opioids (now). I am certainly on a couple of medications from my psychiatrist to try and level out my brain, but it is a big thing. It is a big thing in your life and it is a big thing to talk about.
“If I can help somebody to understand that you can be what is normal, or quite normal in your particular mind, and the next moment you are in a straight jacket down in a facility.
“It is a chemical imbalance in the brain and I have been diagnosed with bipolar depression, high highs and low lows.”
Hunt said he was diagnosed with bipolar depression six years ago after an on-air “meltdown”.
He explained: “One night after Footy Nightline (on 3AW) I just had a meltdown and drove down to Phillip Island and started to ring everybody including Eddie (McGuire) and you, (Sam Newman), and was feeling sorry for myself and that is when I found myself for six weeks in the facility in Traralgon.”
Hunt said his family had grown apart in recent times and he wasn’t close to his adult children at the moment.
“I hold myself totally responsible for what has happened, but it is a very private thing between Lynne (his wife) and I, but we are working on it,” he told the podcast.
“My children certainly aren’t (close). The whole family has busted up, simple as that, it is very, very sad, but things happen,” he said.
“I am in a very difficult place at the moment because it is difficult to try and get everyone together when you are trying to get yourself together.”
Hunt won two VFL premierships as a player for Richmond before carving out a long career as one of the most iconic voices in Australian sport.