Footy legends and the wider AFL community have come together to support a grieving Sam Newman after he found his wife dead on the floor of their Melbourne apartment.
Newman, 75, returned home on Saturday night after being out with friends and discovered wife Amanda Brown, 50, unresponsive on the floor of their Docklands flat.
The Geelong legend and Brown had a notoriously private relationship that spanned two decades before they finally tied the knot in November last year, just days after her 50th birthday.
Tributes poured in for Brown on Sunday, with Newman’s former Footy Show co-host Eddie McGuire saying it was a ‘heartbreaking day’.
‘Our great friend and colleague, Sam Newman, 300-game superstar of the Geelong Football Club, came home from going out with a couple of friends yesterday and found his wonderful wife Amanda dead on the floor of his apartment,’ McGuire said on Fox Footy.
‘Sam, you know that we’re thinking of you, buddy.’
‘I spoke to him last night and, clearly devastated by the whole situation. Our thoughts with all the Newman’s and Amanda’s family, the Brown family as well.’
Sam Newman’s wife Amanda Brown (pictured on their wedding day on November 27) was found dead in their Docklands apartment aged 50
Sam Newman, whose wife Amanda Brown died on Saturday evening in Melbourne, had been married three times previously before marrying the ‘love of his life’ in November
Eddie McGuire (pictured) became one of the first footy personalities to extend sympathies to Newman, saying it was a ‘heartbreaking day’ for the sporting community
Brown was found by Newman at about 8pm on Saturday night where its believed she went into cardiac arrest. Emergency services were unable to revive her.
Friends say the ‘bubbly’ Brown had Newman the happiest he’d ever been, with the TV personality saying he is ‘just devastated’ in his only public statement since her death.
Newman’s close friend for many decades and another former Footy Show co-host Garry Lyon also revealed he’d spoken with Newman.
‘That was the greatest shock yesterday. I did (speak to Sam), heartbreaking,’ he said on SEN.
‘It was heartbreaking.’
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‘I spoke to him last night and, clearly devastated by the whole situation. Our thoughts with all the Newman’s and Amanda’s family, the Brown family as well,’ McGuire said Sunday
Veteran sports journalist Mike Sheahan, who co-hosted the You Cannot Be Serious podcast with Newman, said the pair had a ‘really good relationship’.
‘He was the happiest I had seen him,’ Sheahan told The Australian of the star’s life with his fourth wife.
‘Especially given the time that they were together, 20 years, he said to me he was devastated. It’s just so traumatic, it’s going to throw his life into confusion.’
He described Ms Brown as a loving girlfriend, and later wife and business partner who was his ‘right-hand man’ and took on an active role maintaining his social media pages.
‘It was a very functional relationship and he was happy,’ he said.
‘I can’t say he has always been happy in his life, but with Amanda he was happy.’
Other media figures who have worked closely with the Geelong Hall of Famer added their sorrow at hearing the news.
Veteran sports journalist Mike Sheahan (centre), who co-hosted the You Cannot Be Serious podcast with Newman, said the pair had a ‘really good relationship’ (Newman pictured left)
Newman’s former Footy Show co-host Rebecca Maddern pays tribute to Brown
Collingwood legend Tony Shaw tweets his support to his 3AW colleague
‘I’m devastated for my friend Sam Newman. His wife Amanda was only 50 and that’s far too young,’ Rebecca Maddern tweeted Sunday.
‘Horrible news about Sam Newman’s wife Amanda. I don’t always agree with Sams views but I worked with him on 3AW for 5 yrs and I found him one of the most loyal,honest and generous people you could find,’ Collingwood legend and 3AW radio host Tony Shaw added.
Perfect Match host Greg Evans, who officiated their marriage, previously described on Newman’s podcast how he arranged Ms Brown’s birthday celebrations at their apartment in Docklands.
‘She (Amanda) opened the door and said, “What are you doing here?” and I said “I have come to wish you a happy birthday,” because it was said bride’s birthday,’ Evans told the podcast.
‘Then Sam said, “Well, Amanda, happy birthday and I was wondering if for your birthday you would like to marry me?”.’
He said Ms Brown’s hands and knees started shaking and she said yes four times.
‘It was just a beautiful moment in her life, in Sam’s life and in my life. I was privileged to be there,’ he said.
Pictured: Sam Newman posing during a VFL state of origin portrait session in Melbourne, when he played for the Geelong Cats
On Saturday, an Ambulance Victoria spokesman confirmed paramedics were called to Newman’s home at 7.40pm on Saturday over reports of a cardiac arrest.
The report was described as a ‘medical condition’ and his wife’s death is not being treated as suspicious.
Newman played 300 games for his beloved Geelong Football Club in the 1960s and 70s, winning the club’s best and fairest medal twice.
He was named in the club’s team of the century and is also in the club’s hall of fame.
He retired in 1980 and immediately began working in the media, commentating for radio station 3AW and Channel 7.
Newman was one of the faces of the AFL Footy Show from 1994 until 2018 where he became a controversial figure for his outspoken views.