Veteran television reporter Mike Willesee has paid tribute to actor, author, entertainer and disability advocate Quentin Kenihan, who died on the weekend aged 43.
Kenihan suffered from a severe bone disease called osteogenesis imperfecta, which resulted in him suffering 600 fractures during his lifetime.
Australians fell in love with Quentin after Willesee did a series of interviews with him as a small boy.
Willesee later produced a documentary simply titled ‘Quentin’.
Willesee said he was “absolutely devastated” after hearing the news of Kenihan’s death from an asthma attack.
“He was such a tough little bugger who always defied the odds,” he said.
“The respect I had for him was enormous. I will always have a special place in my heart for Quentin.”
A creative and productive life
Apart from his many interviews, Kenihan had his own television show, authored his own book, and starred in the recent Mad Max: Fury Road movie.
He was also a strong advocate for the disabled and was making a run for a spot on the Adelaide City Council.
Kenihan was also very active on social media, making friends with celebrities, many of whom posted messages on Twitter, including this from Russell Crowe:
“Devastating news. My little mate, the bravest bloke I ever met… gone. We will meet again. Not confined any more… Between your interviews, your book, your one man show, your zany little movies… what a creative and productive life.”
Comedian Will Anderson tweeted:
“Sad news about @qkenihan always a delight to catch up for a chat when I ran into him (or in one case when he ran over me, I think on purpose) and a real supporter of the Australian arts too.”
Singer songwriter Darren Hayes wrote:
“Oh dear sweet Quentin Kenihan – I just heard of your passing. You were so kind to me, so funny and creative and confident and brave and inspiring. All my love to your family. Rest easy, beautiful man.”
A tireless advocate for people with disabilities
The Australian Federation Disability Organisation said Kenihan would always be remembered for “his tireless advocacy for people with disabilities” while fellow disability activist Carly Findlay also paid tribute saying “he had so much more to do on this earth”.
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard took to twitter to thank Kenihan for his lessons about the strength of the human spirit:
“#QuentinKenihan inspired us all throughout his life.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten said Kenihan had shown the how to “find the inner superhero in ourselves” and praised him as a “warrior for people with disability”.