Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pro Hart Dies

Tuesday Mar 28 06:46 AEDT
Outback artist Pro Hart has died at his Broken Hill home after battling motor neurone disease.

The 77-year-old was diagnosed with the debilitating disease that causes muscle wastage late last year but his condition began to fail last week.

His family decided to cease his medication on Friday and the legendary artist died at 2.45am (AEDT) Tuesday, Pro's family said in a statement.

Pro Hart became a household name for his unconventional and diverse art works - which at one time featured in a popular carpet-cleaning advertisement.

He was "a truly remarkable Australian and one that will be sadly missed", his family said in a statement.

Pro Hart is survived by his wife, Raylee, and their five children - John, Kym, Marie, Julie and David.

In 1976 Pro Hart was awarded an MBE for his services to art in Australia and in 1982 received an Honorary Life Membership of Society International Artistique for outstanding artistic achievement.
Pro Hart was a kind and generous man who left his mark on the town of Broken Hill, says its mayor, Ron Page.

Mr Page said he had been close to the legendary artist, who had a soft spot for people. "He was a fantastic person; if you went to see him one-on-one, he would talk to you all day," Mr Page told ABC radio. "He didn't like huge crowds but he really enjoyed people, really loved people. "Everyone will have a story to tell; how kind, how generous, and what a fantastic person Pro was."

Born and raised in Broken Hill, Pro went on to raise a family and build an art gallery there. "He loved our city and we loved him," Mr Page said. "He treated us with kindness and friendship, whether we were rich, poor, famous. When you went to see Pro, you were a person and he treated you with respect.

©AAP 2006

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