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Australian media legend Sam Chisholm dies aged 78

Australian media heavyweight Sam Chisholm has died after a short battle with illness at the age of 78.

Mr Chisholm passed away on Monday evening at the Sydney Adventist Hospital with his wife and daughter by his side, after a media career that spanned four decades.

Ben Fordham had his own encounter with the legend, one he told Ben to keep secret.

When Ben was making the rounds in the Nine Network office to raise money for diabetes, Mr Chisholm donated $10,000 for the cause.

“He says to me, ‘Look, I’ll give you $10,000, however you’re not to tell anyone about it.’

“He said, ‘Don’t tell anyone, because I’ve got a reputation as being a prick and I plan on keeping that reputation.'”

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Veteran 60 Minutes reporter Ian Leslie has called into the Sydney Live program, telling Ben he’s “deeply saddened” to hear the news.

“He was my boss for 12 years at the Nine Network. In my opinion, Sam Chisholm was the greatest CEO of any Australian television network.”

Ian says although Sam had a reputation for being “tough” and “ruthless”, he was a fine and loyal man.

“He had a heart, Sam Chisholm.”

Click PLAY below to hear from veteran journalist Ian Leslie