Neighbours has delivered a tragic twist as newlywed Hendrix Greyson (Ben Turland) passed away after his lung transplant failed, following a battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
Coronation Street bid farewell to Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) when she ended her life amid her terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. And Neighbours itself killed off mainstay Sonya Rebecchi (Eve Morey) in an episode dedicated to her final day as she succumbed to ovarian cancer.
We've watched many popular characters lose their lives in the soap world; but we'd suggest the latest takes the title as the saddest of them all.
It was only last week that Hendrix married Mackenzie Hargreaves (Georgie Stone) in a heartwarming and joyous instalment. The couple were keen to begin their happy ever after ahead of Hendrix’s surgery; and Neighbours certainly gave them a celebration to remember.
But as the day of the operation arrived, Hendrix tried to put on a brave face. While things initially ran smoothly, there was panic when Hendrix fell ill in the aftermath.
As doctors rushed to his aid, nothing could prepare Mackenzie for the revelation that her husband only had hours left to live. Hendrix, meanwhile, was determined to avoid sedation so he could make the most of the time he had left.
Dr Karl Kennedy (Alan Fletcher), who looked upon Hendrix as a son, set himself the task of explaining the situation to his wife Susan (Jackie Woodburne) and Hendrix’s parents Pierce (Tim Robards) and Lisa (Jane Allsop).
Close friend (and former stepmother) Chloe Brennan (April Rose Pengilly) arrived to see Hendrix, while Toadie Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) supported Mackenzie as she summoned all her strength to be by Hendrix’s side.
The performances from everyone involved were flawless. From Fletcher’s depiction of Karl’s quiet grief, to the returning Robards who poignantly showcased Pierce’s confused anguish.
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But it was the stunning dynamic between stars Turland and Stone that took centre stage. Hendrix and Mackenzie are true soap soulmates, something that couldn’t have been achieved without the dedication and on-screen chemistry shared by the actors.
As a result, the harrowing reality faced by Mackenzie, whose future has been snatched so cruelly from her, felt raw and authentic through Stone’s portrayal. One moment Mack was anticipating their future as she declared how lucky she was; the next she was about to say goodbye to the love of her life.
The loss of Hendrix will impact the whole community, as we’ll see in the aftermath. In the lead up to his death, though, there was an overwhelming sense of sorrow for the life Hendrix wouldn’t be able to live. But of course, he was more concerned for his beloved wife as he breathlessly insisted that his death must not define her future.
With a personality that shone through the screen, Hendrix has become one of the show’s most popular characters. And Neighbours didn’t shy away from reminding us exactly who he was. Even as he lay dying, there was still time to mortify Chloe with a typically outrageous remark; with Turland's delivery on point right to the very end.
After “second family” Karl and Susan shared their deep-rooted affection for the young man, and Mackenzie thanked Hendrix for loving her, he took his last breaths surrounded by his loved ones.
Just days after Neighbours wrapped filming, and mere weeks before the finale hits our screens, the soap has packed yet another gut-wrenching, powerful punch with a devastating episode that will stay with fans for a long time to come.
Watch Hendrix reveal his illness to his family in Neighbours