‘Play Dirty’ crew member dies suddenly aged 30

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An Australian production assistant who worked on the set of Mark Wahlberg’s new film “Play Dirty” will be remembered as a “bright young man” as the Australian film community grapples with his unexpected death.

Ryan Cuskelly, 30, from Greater Sydney, was excited to work as a production assistant on the major motion picture being shot in Sydney and worked hard to build his career in the film industry.

“The Play Dirty Crew and Amazon Studios pay tribute to Ryan’s remarkable spirit, generosity and that infectious smile that no one will ever forget,” said the Play Dirty family.

His partner of five years, Natalie Abbott, told news.com.au his death was “difficult to comprehend” for the Cuskelly family, their friends and the wider film and television community.

The announcement came after family and friends said Mr Cuskelly had been battling a “severe and extremely aggressive immune deficiency and virus”.

“He was surrounded by his family and loved ones and they held his hands as he died,” Ms Abbott said.

“Ryan was perfectly healthy. He went to the gym every day. He was 30 years old, vegan, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke. As if he was the healthiest person I know.

“I, his mother and his brother were there practically every day. I think the longest I was in the hospital was over 48 hours each time.

“It’s confusing, there are so many questions, like how could this even happen?”

Mrs Abbott first met the production manager when she played the lead role as Muriel in Muriel’s Wedding the musical.

“I went to Ryan in the green room, we talked and he told me, for example, how many people had cried during which part of the show,” she said.

“I remember him being so kind. He was always helping with everything and everyone and was willing to help anyone, even a stranger,” she said.

The shock of his death has hit the Sydney film industry hard, so a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the family pay the mounting costs resulting from Mr Cuskelly’s sudden death.

“Ryan died too young at the age of 30,” the site says.

“The funds raised will go towards his memorial as he leaves behind a grieving family and community.”

When news of Mr Cuskelly’s death broke on social media, friends and loved ones flocked to the page to share their memories and grief.

“This is absolutely heartbreaking. I am so sorry to hear this. He was an absolute ray of light,” a friend wrote on Facebook.

“The loss of this wonderful young man. Ryan was the absolute best human being. I am so very very sad,” commented another.

“Ryan was one of the best. I admired him deeply,” wrote a third person.

Mr Cuskelly also volunteered with St John’s Ambulance Service and was known as a “hard worker” who gave his time to anyone who needed help.

“He really dedicated his life to helping people and was always such a hard worker in everything he did,” Ms Abbott said.

“I was so proud of him, how hard he worked to last as long as he could at the end, you could really see it,” she said.

Elliot Cuskelly, Mr Cuskelly’s brother, said: “I cannot put into words how grateful my family and I are for all the posts and donations.”

A memorial service will be held in June at the Sydney Theatre Company, which has provided a space for the service.

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