Hugh Jackman announced on Monday that his beloved dad, Christopher John Jackman, had died on Father’s Day.
In a statement, the Australian actor paid tribute to his ‘extraordinary’ parent – who was believed to have been around 84 years old – before praising how he ‘devoted his life to his family, work and his faith.’
Following the emotional post, the 56-year-old’s close friends have sent their heartfelt condolences to The Greatest Showman star, including actor Ryan Reynolds, Naomi Watts and Richard E Grant.
Support: Hugh Jackman’s celebrity friends have consoled the actor after he announced the death of his beloved father, Christopher John Jackman, on social media on Monday evening
Ryan, who has been involved in a joke ‘feud’ with his friend Hugh for years, simply wrote: ‘I was lucky to have met him.’
Australian actress Naomi Watts added: ‘So sorry Hugh. Sending love’, while singer Tina Arena wrote: ‘Thinking of you Hugh! Tx.’
Richard E Grant, who tragically lost his wife of 35 years, Joan Washington, just days ago, wrote: ‘So so sorry for the incalculable loss of your Pa, Hugh.’
Condolences: Following the emotional post, the 56-year-old’s close friends sent their heartfelt condolences to The Greatest Showman star, including actor Ryan Reynolds, Naomi Watts and Richard E Grant
Anthony Field, of The Wiggles fame, said: ‘Sorry mate,’ with a love-heart emoji, while Studio 10 host Angela Bishop wrote: ‘So, so sorry Hugh. Sending lots of love.’
New Zealand-born actress Rebecca Gibney added: ‘So sorry to hear this Hugh. Sending all the love.’
Hugh had announced the news of his dad’s death on Instagram, alongside a picture of his father Christopher – who was a British-born, Cambridge-educated accountant.
Tribute: Ryan Reynolds (L) who has been involved in a joke ‘feud’ with his friend Hugh for years, simply wrote: ‘I was lucky to have met him’
Support: Richard E Grant (R) who tragically lost his wife of 35 years, Joan Washington (L) just days ago, wrote: ‘So so sorry for the incalculable loss of your Pa, Hugh’
‘In the early hours of Father’s Day (AU), my Dad peacefully passed away,’ he wrote. And whilst there is deep sadness, I am filled with such gratitude and love. My Dad was, in a word, extraordinary. He devoted his life to his family, his work and his faith. I pray he is now at peace with God.’
Christopher and his ex-wife Grace are both Brits, and while Hugh was born in Australia, he is a British citizen.
Christopher raised Hugh and his two brothers, Ian and Ralph, as a single father, in Sydney, Australia. The Broadway star was an eight-year-old schoolboy when his mother Grace left him and his family.
Announcement: Alongside a photo of his father, Huge wrote on Monday evening: ‘In the early hours of Father’s Day (AU), my Dad peacefully passed away. And whilst there is deep sadness, I am filled with such gratitude and love. My Dad was, in a word, extraordinary’
She left Australia and returned to her native England in the late ’70s, leaving her husband to raise their children alone.
After the couple divorced, Hugh’s sisters, Zoe and Sonya, went to live with Grace in the UK; Hugh and his brothers, Ian and Ralph, stayed in Sydney with their father.
Recalling his difficult childhood, Hugh previously said: ”It was traumatic.
‘I thought she was probably going to come back. And then it sort of dragged on and on.’ He added that after his mother left, he saw her about ‘once a year’.
It wasn’t until he was ’12 or 13′ that it dawned on him his mother would never return.
In 2012, Hugh broke down on 60 Minutes when discussing his mother leaving his father, himself and his siblings. He said: ‘My father is my rock. It’s where I learned everything about loyalty, dependability, being there day in, day out, no matter what’.
‘It’s always about the family,’ he added of the values that his father has instilled in him.
Loyal: ‘My father is my rock. It’s where I learned everything about loyalty, dependability, being there day in, day out, no matter what,’ Hugh had said of his father
Hugh said he still vividly remembers the morning his mother left.
He said: ‘I remember her being in a towel around her head and saying goodbye. [It] must have been the way she said goodbye. As I went off to school, when I came back, there was no one there in the house…
‘The next day there was a telegram from England. Mum was there. And then that was it. Dad used to pray every night that mum would come back.’
Hugh once told an Australian magazine: ‘The thing I never felt – and I know this might sound strange – I never felt that my mum didn’t love me.’
The star told The Australian Women’s Weekly he felt traumatised and ashamed for years after his mother left.
But he came to realise over time that she was struggling with postnatal depression without a proper support system.
‘At the time, it was difficult,’ he said. ‘One of the main things I remember is that horrible feeling that people were talking about you and looking at you because it was odd for the mother to leave.
Rock solid: Hugh’s mother, Grace McNeil, left the family and returned to England when Hugh was just eight years old, and he has referred to his dad as his ‘rock’ from then on
‘For many years, I thought it was not going to be forever, so I clung on to that. Up until about the age of 12 or 13, I thought mum and dad would get back together… Realising it wasn’t going to happen was probably the toughest time to be honest.’
Years later Hugh spoke to his mother about her decision to leave, and realised she had her own battles, which he wouldn’t have been able to understand as a child.
‘I know she was struggling. She was in hospital after I was born suffering from post-natal depression,’ he said.
‘And then you add five kids into the mix and the fact she had emigrated from England and there wasn’t a support network for her here, plus the fact that dad was at work all day – and you realise that as parents we make mistakes.’
Hugh explained that having children of his own with wife Deborra-Lee Furness – they share son Oscar, 21, and daughter Ava, 16, both adopted – gave him ‘another level of empathy and understanding’ that allowed him to build bridges with his mother.
‘There comes a certain point in life when you have to stop blaming other people for how you feel or the misfortunes in your life,’ he added.
Fortunately, Hugh and his mother reconciled years later, and are now frequently pictured together at the actor’s ritzy events and in social media posts.
Making up: Fortunately, Hugh and his mother reconciled years later, and are now frequently pictured together at the actor’s ritzy events and in social media posts
Empathy: ‘I know she was struggling. She was in hospital after I was born suffering from post-natal depression,’ Hugh said of his mother’s plight. Pictured with his mother recently
He told The Sun newspaper in October 2011: ‘I am 43 now and we have definitely made our peace, which is important. I was always quite connected with my mum. I have a good relationship with her.’
Hugh frequently shared heartfelt tributes to his father on social media.
For Father’s Day 2018, the Oscar-nominated star shared a touching post on Instagram alongside a photo of the beaming pair. ‘Happy Father’s Day to the man who taught me to show respect for others,’ he gushed.
‘For education, for being led by your passions. Who taught me to never stop growing and learning.’
Hugh added: ‘To work hard and realize that preparation is the bedrock for success. And above all, to find purpose beyond oneself.’
The Greatest Showman finished the post with a simple: ‘I love you Dad!’
‘I have a good relationship with her’: Hugh and his mother reconciled years later, with the actor saying in 2011: ‘We have definitely made our peace, which is important’