Nine News cameraman Ilankovan Frank dies: Leila McKinnon pays tribute 1

Nine News cameraman Ilankovan Frank dies: Leila McKinnon pays tribute

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A Current Affair host Leila McKinnon has paid tribute to veteran Nine News Sydney cameraman Ilankovan Frank, known to colleagues as Frank, following his death on Tuesday.

McKinnon, 49, described the Indian-born cameraman as ‘fun and fearless, smart, charming and determined’ in a heartfelt Instagram post on Wednesday.

She spoke of her great respect for Frank, who was forced to flee India for Australia after he married a Christian woman named Soni against his Hindu family’s wishes.

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'Fun and fearless': A Current Affair host Leila McKinnon (pictured) has paid tribute to veteran Nine News Sydney cameraman Ilankovan Frank following his death on Tuesday

Rest in peace: Ilankovan Frank, known to colleagues simply as Frank, died after battling ill health for years

‘Fun and fearless’: A Current Affair host Leila McKinnon (left) has paid tribute to veteran Nine News Sydney cameraman Ilankovan Frank (right) following his death on Tuesday

‘He came to Australia from India with his beautiful wife Soni and started building his life again from scratch, never missing the shot, an angle, a chance for some overtime, or a laugh,’ McKinnon wrote.

‘He was one of those larger-than-life people who knew everyone, and was loved by all.’   

McKinnon went on to describe the poignant image accompanying her post, which showed Frank posing with a baby holding a beer bottle.   

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Love: McKinnon spoke of her great respect for Frank, who was forced to flee India for Australia after he married a Christian woman named Soni (right) against his Hindu family's wishes

Love: McKinnon spoke of her great respect for Frank, who was forced to flee India for Australia after he married a Christian woman named Soni (right) against his Hindu family’s wishes 

‘This is him sharing a beer with baby Ted at [late Australian journalist] Peter Harvey’s wake. I’d like to think of them together again now, two great newsmen sharing a drink and spinning yarns,’ she said. 

‘Vale Ilankovan Frank from “Miss Leila”. And much love to Frank’s wife and his two beautiful clever daughters Joanna and Jemima.’

Frank’s widow Soni previously spoke to the ABC about her rock-solid marriage to the camera operator, revealing he’d given up everything to be with her. 

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Memories: Leila wrote on Instagram, 'This is him sharing a beer with baby Ted at [late Australian journalist] Peter Harvey's wake. I'd like to think of them together again now, two great newsmen sharing a drink and spinning yarns'

Memories: Leila wrote on Instagram, ‘This is him sharing a beer with baby Ted at [late Australian journalist] Peter Harvey’s wake. I’d like to think of them together again now, two great newsmen sharing a drink and spinning yarns’ 

‘His dad said if you want to marry that girl you need to leave the house and you need to sign off all inheritance. So, he chose love over family and money, and we started from scratch,’ Soni said in 2019.

Frank died on Tuesday morning, five years after suffering a devastating stroke at work.

The stroke left him disabled and speech-impaired, but that didn’t stop Frank from expressing his love for his wife.

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'He chose love over family and money': Frank's widow Soni previously spoke to the ABC about her rock-solid marriage to the cameraman, revealing he'd given up everything to be with her

‘He chose love over family and money’: Frank’s widow Soni previously spoke to the ABC about her rock-solid marriage to the cameraman, revealing he’d given up everything to be with her

Declining health: Frank died on Tuesday, five years after suffering a devastating stroke at work, which left him disabled and speech-impaired. Pictured here with model Jennifer Hawkins

Declining health: Frank died on Tuesday, five years after suffering a devastating stroke at work, which left him disabled and speech-impaired. Pictured here with model Jennifer Hawkins 

‘Our love is deeper now because it’s been tested in a different scenario, a different time and you realise that commitment you made and you give it priority,’ Soni told ABC. 

Nine newsreader Georgie Gardner on Wednesday delivered a tribute to Frank on air, detailing his life, passions, and career highlights with the network. 

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‘Pictures on the news each night aren’t just plucked from thin air – they are the work of our camera operators,’ Gardner began.  

Heartbreaking: Nine newsreader Georgie Gardner on Wednesday delivered a tribute to Frank on air, detailing his life, passions, and career highlights with the network

Heartbreaking: Nine newsreader Georgie Gardner on Wednesday delivered a tribute to Frank on air, detailing his life, passions, and career highlights with the network

‘One of them, a dear workmate, known to us all here at Nine simply as Frank, has died – here are some of the pictures he took, as well as some pictures of him along the way,’ she said. 

The tribute began with a slideshow of photos of Frank as Gardner spoke of his love for cricket.

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The cameraman was pictured smiling with cricketing legends Dave Warner, Brett Lee, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Warne.

Emotional: 'A dear workmate, known to us all here at Nine simply as Frank, has died - here are some of the pictures he took, as well as some pictures of him along the way,' Gardner said

Emotional: ‘A dear workmate, known to us all here at Nine simply as Frank, has died – here are some of the pictures he took, as well as some pictures of him along the way,’ Gardner said

‘Those were the best of days – fun – when it often took him to the land of his birth, India,’ Gardner continued, referring to assignments Frank had done in India.

Images of Frank were shown from news reports he shot around the globe.

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‘Like the Commonwealth Games, or a political visit, our reporters loved working with him. He helped us tell the stories no matter how tough the assignment,’ Gardner said.

A life behind the camera: Images of Frank were shown from reports he shot around the globe

A life behind the camera: Images of Frank were shown from reports he shot around the globe

A-list friends: The cameraman was pictured smiling with cricketing legends Dave Warner, Brett Lee, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Warne (right)

A-list friends: The cameraman was pictured smiling with cricketing legends Dave Warner, Brett Lee, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Warne (right) 

Sports fan: Frank is pictured with cricket legend Michael Clarke

Sports fan: Frank is pictured with cricket legend Michael Clarke 

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The tribute highlighted Frank’s work capturing the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the refugee crisis in Southern Sudan and the Battle of Long Tan memorial in Long Tân, South Vietnam.

It then focused on Frank’s health issues in the later years of his life, as Gardner said: ‘Our friend had his own battles – recovering from a stroke’.

The broadcast cut to footage of Frank triumphantly entering the Channel Nine newsroom to applause from his colleagues following his stroke.

Gardner concluded: ‘Lovely moments we saw as he helped you see what was happening in our world.’  

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The tribute highlighted Frank's work capturing the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, the refugee crisis in Southern Sudan and the Battle of Long Tan memorial in Long Tân, South Vietnam

The tribute highlighted Frank’s work capturing the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, the refugee crisis in Southern Sudan and the Battle of Long Tan memorial in Long Tân, South Vietnam

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