2GB commentator and The Daily Telegraph’s chief rugby league writer, Peter Frilingos, has died suddenly in Sydney at the age of 59.
Frilingos, who suffered an apparent heart attack at work, is survived by his wife, Maureen, and children Matt, Anna and Alison.
Apart from working on 2GB’s Continuous Call team with Ray Hadley, he appeared regularly on Foxtel sport programs.
News Limited CEO, John Hartigan, says Frilingos was a legend, who – only this week – had celebrated 40 years as a league writer.
“He was one of the greatest sports’ writers this country has produced, a master writer of rugby league … legend is a word often overused, but that is what he was.
“Rugby league was his passion, but his great love was his wife and family. Our thoughts are with them.”
Telegraph Editor, Campbell Reid, says: “More than any other person, Peter was the heart and soul of The Daily Telegraph and rugby league. And, more than any other person, we considered him bulletproof.
“In the last couple of days, we had celebrated with Peter an unbelievable career as this city’s leading rugby league writer, a job he performed with unsurpassed passion and professionalism. He said to me last week that ‘The day I don’t want to watch a football game is the day I stop’ – but that day had not arrived yet.”
Mr Frilingos – known affectionately as Chippy because of his Greek background – started on The Daily Mirror as a copyboy in February 1962, writing his first league story two years later.
He became chief league writer at the Mirror and continued when it became the Telegraph.
A News Ltd statement says Frilingos had been to Fox Sports to record an episode of the ‘Back Page’ program, which included a special tribute to his 40 years as a league writer.
Telegraph columnist, Mike Gibson, says: “He left the studio to go into the city. He was wearing a pressman’s hat with a tag that said 40 years in journalism.
“League meant everything to him and, even when the headlines were at their most bleak, he never lost his enthusiasm for the sport.”
NRL chief, David Gallop, says league will not be the same without Chippy: “He was one of the most dedicated men to his profession that you could imagine.
“He inspired us to look for answers to the game’s issues. Everyone will remember not only his strong views but that he would respect your right to disagree and be fair in presenting an alternative view.
“He was part of the game for four decades and his death represents an enormous loss. I offer his family the deepest sympathy from everyone in rugby league.”