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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 November 2007, 18:13 GMT
'Brave battle' of late newsreader
A screen grab of Charmaine Dragun
Dragun was based in Sydney but read bulletins for Perth viewers
Friends of a TV newsreader whose body was found at a notorious suicide spot in Sydney have told of her "brave and private battle with depression".

Charmaine Dragun, 29, was "determined not to allow it to control her", they wrote in a letter published in Monday's edition of The Australian newspaper.

Her death on Friday had left "a gaping hole", they added. "Not a day will go by where she won't be truly missed."

Numerous tributes have been paid by fans of Network Ten's rising star.

Her death was "a sad and tragic loss - so heartbreaking", wrote one person on Vogue's website. "I will miss her sweet smile and voice."

Another, on the Australian Media site, said: "What a shock - so young and had a bright future as a newsreader."

She was making plans with her future husband Simon, whom she had been with since the age of 16
Friends' letter to The Australian

Dragun's parents Michael and Estelle said they hoped she would be "remembered as an angel" who had "brought joy and light to everyone she met". They thanked well-wishers "during this challenging time".

The presenter's death was announced shortly after her body was discovered at the bottom of cliffs at The Gap in the Watsons Bay area of Sydney.

Police said they were not treating her death as suspicious, a statement which suggested she had committed suicide.

Dragun was based at Network Ten's studios in Sydney, from where she presented news bulletins shown in her native Western Australia.

'Complete sadness'

The letter to The Australian said that "while her death was defined by depression, her life was defined by love".

"She was making plans with her future husband Simon, whom she had been with since the age of 16," it read.

A screen grab of Charmaine Dragun
Network Ten described its "shock and sadness" at the "terrible" news
"The couple were planning on staging a surprise wedding at their joint 30th birthdays in March next year. The couple had also talked extensively about starting a family."

Those who wrote the letter told of how Dragun "did find it difficult living away from her family in Perth", but said she was surrounded by "a tight-knit group of supportive friends in Sydney".

"Her optimism was evident in the plans she was making for the future," they added. "A lover of music, she had bought concert tickets to [see] Bjork on the morning of the day she died."

Compilation clips of her work were posted as tributes on the MySpace and YouTube websites.

'Lost to all'

One fan wrote on YouTube: "I was shocked to hear of her death. She was a nice, beautiful and adorable newsreader. She was so articulate. RIP."

More than 110 people had joined a Facebook group called "Charmaine Dragun Rest in Peace".

On the Vogue website, one comment said: "How sad that another young life ends too soon. Her mum taught at my high school."

"I really loved her reading the local news here in Perth," a post on the TVAus forum read. "She was the best one on that network."

And on the Yahoo message board, one person said Dragun was "such a beautiful person, lost to us all".

We invited you to pay your own tributes to Charmaine Dragun. Here is a selection of the responses received.

I am shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news. I remembered Charmaine as a popular high-school classmate loved by her peers. Having watched her present the Network Ten news was a testament that one of the class of 1995 had "made it". We can only speculate, but never will find the answer to why. It is a terrible loss. My condolences to her family and friends. Rest in peace, Charmaine.
Noel Chow, London, UK

I now live in Italy but for years I was a journalist with ABC Australia out of New York. I have also had experience with a long-time partner who had a close friend who committed suicide many years ago. As we have both found, it is hard on those left behind and something that always leaves a sense of not being able to understand why. The young woman's family will be left with that all their lives.
Terry Hughes, Tuscany, Italy

A suicide like this one is so painful, to her family, friends and work colleagues. I've seen some of Charmaine's reports on Network Ten and she seemed to be so at love with life and to have a great future ahead of her. But I guess this tragedy just goes to show that "none of us ever really owns the time we think we own". May she find peace now in God's care, and be an eternal angel in heaven.
Jaker, London, UK and Dublin, Ireland

For any life to end in such a way is more than a tragedy. So sorry that help was not on hand. Perhaps we will understand one day.
Dennis Collins, Maidstone, UK

I'm shocked to see photos of such a bright, beautiful young lady lose her life tragically. My thoughts are with her family and everyone at Perth who miss her presence.
Manal Karadsheh, Amman, Jordan

This was extremely sad. I hope she will RIP and, as written above, may she be remembered as an angel.
Simrin, London, UK

I am an Aussie living in Denver so I always try to keep up on the news down there. This has saddened me deeply. I lost a sibling to suicide nine years ago. Charmaine's family have a long and bumpy road ahead of them.
Lee Carlton, Colorado, USA

My son just lost his wife of four months to suicide. He is devastated, as are we all. She was going for help, but he didn't know the full story, just what she wanted him to know. I didn't know Charmaine, but when you lose anyone before their time, and in such a horrible way, it's almost unbearable. Prayers for her family and everyone who has been affected by her death.
M R Cotton, New Braunfels, USA

Australia has lost a rising star called Charmaine Dragun. My condolences to Australia and Network Ten on the loss of one of the greatest personalities in news.
Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso, CPUR, Miami, Florida

I feel so sad at learning about the loss of Charmaine. My thoughts are with her family.
Gary, Chippenham, UK

May Charmaine's soul rest in peace and may God give all the strength to her family to pass through these difficult times. Also, let the world realise there are a lot of struggling young people out there who need immediate help.
Ajith Hariharan, New Jersey, USA

Words cannot convey the sadness and deep loss to her family and close friends. Keep near to each other and support one another. A tragic loss to the news community as well.
Janet Weiner, Cranford, New Jersey

Although I have never seen her, I sympathise with her family. RIP.
Pauline Evans, Los Angeles, California

Such a beautiful talented girl - a great loss to family and friends.
Helen Thomson., Edinburgh, UK

Sad to hear of the news. Condolences to Australia and her family.
Mark Dempsey, Notts, UK

Please, if you are feeling sad and feel like ending it all, try to get help first. Talk to family, friends, and if you are alone, call a hotline. It's a medical condition that can be helped. People care and as you read here, strangers do too.
Barb Kropik, Detroit, Michigan

Depression is a very serious condition that takes the lives and ruins the lives of so many people, often at a young age. This obviously intelligent and talented young woman is another sad example. My father suffered from depression for many years,so I understand the problem and its ramifications. I sincerely regret the loss of this young lady. If you have depression, please seek help for it and give all the help you can to loved ones with this disease.
Chuck Langham, Charlottesville, Virginia

What a dreadful tragedy, so much sadder because Charmaine had most of her life left to enjoy and share with those who loved her. I can only add emphasis to Chuck Langham's message - to anyone out there who thinks they've reached the end, seek help - things WILL get better. Depression can strike anyone and it is NOT your fault or a weakness; it is an ILLNESS and you CAN get through it.
Alan Waters, Braintree, UK

I am very sad to hear this news; there but for the grace of God go any of us. A sad loss and a pity no-one could help her in time. I hope she is in a better place...
Zoe, Devon, UK

I'd never heard of her before, but am saddened by this story. I'm sure the depression was overwhelming, and how sad it was not treated. If nothing else, Charmaine's story might serve as a "wake-up" call to others in the same situation. Peace to her, and to the grieving family and friends.
Diane, Las Vegas, Nevada

I am profoundly saddened to hear this news of Australia's rising star. It's true depression can catch anyone. May her soul rest in peace.
Dheeresh Kadukan Velly, Kochi, India

Such a tragic loss of a young and vibrant life.
Abbas, Doha, Qatar,

To hear of a death deeply saddens everyone. To hear of a suspected suicide causes much grief as no-one knows the reason to why this has happened. Society today no longer allows us to help and protect each other. My thoughts go to the family and to anyone who has shared the pain x
Christine, Bonnybridge, UK

My sympathies to her family. My thoughts are with the people closest to her. I am sure this young person is at rest in a better place. Another angel in heaven looking after those below.
Kev, Cheshire, UK

I'd like to express my sadness and condolences. It's a tragedy to lose young people in this way. It's good if we take care of our human siblings and try to help them; also it's necessary to increase the knowlege about depression among our communities. Save those young people - they have a lot of potential.
Alan, Kurdistan

I did not know her but I feel like I do. I myself have suffer from depression. It is a blackness that is so hard to escape. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. She did not want to hurt you, cause you feelings of guilt or pain. Her own pain was just too much to bare. Love one another reach out to those you know that are sad, really depressed. May one day no one have to endure the kind of internal despair depression brings.
Doris Kline, Evansville, Indianapolis

My thoughts and sympathies to this lady's family and friends. Having suffered from depression off and on most of my life, the only reason I'm still alive is something my mother said - suicide is selfish. And although I have many many times wanted to end it, the thought of hurting my family is the only thing that has kept me here. Make sure your loved ones know how much you mean to them, and how devastated you would be if they weren't there. Peace to all.
Rachel, Southampton, UK

I'm sad, because someone has gone and left many loved ones behind. May God bless her and may her soul remain in peace.
Kamran Mustafa, Manchester, UK

Poor, poor girl - she paid the ultimate price before a solution was found, ending her life and devastating all who new and loved her. She couldn't see her worth in life as others so easily could but with the right help she would have found herself again. To others suffering out there please seek help, don't give up, you CAN get better.
Sue Harrison, Tunbridge Wells, UK

Life is a strange thing. Young, successful, beautiful, and something like this. This should be a recipe for a good life, not death... My heart goes out to you Australia.
Balafa, Bansoa, Cameroon

Australian presenter found dead
02 Nov 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Australia
17 Oct 07 |  Country profiles


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