Eccentric Australian businessman Geoffrey Edelsten has died aged 78.
The former owner of the Sydney Swans AFL club died at his apartment in Melbourne on Friday afternoon.
The colourful GP started his career as a doctor and by the 2000s he and a business partner founded Allied Medical Group.
“People had an opinion of him but he was a lot different than the actual opinion. He was a great guy with a great heart and he loved the Swans even though he barracked for Carlton.
“He loved football and he couldn’t have looked after me any better than he did.
“I loved Dr Edelsten. All the blokes who played for the Swans, I’m sure there’s great memories there.”
Dr Edelsten’s second wife, Brynne Edelsten, was “deeply saddened and shocked” by her former husband’s death.
“It is of great sadness to hear of the passing of Dr Geoffrey Edelsten today,” a spokesman for Ms Edelsten said in a statement.
“On behalf of Ms Brynne Edelsten, we send our deepest and sincerest condolences.
“Brynne and Geoffrey enjoyed some truly beautiful moments, including their wedding in 2009.
“While their marriage ended after five years together, Brynne remains grateful for the good times the couple shared and is deeply saddened and shocked to hear the news of his passing.”
Edelsten was born in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton in 1943.
He went to school there before studying at the University of Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1966.
In the 1960s he owned a Melbourne-based record company, Hit Productions. After his graduation from medical school, he worked as an intern at a hospital before going into general practice.
Following his term as an intern he became a country doctor at Birchip in Western Victoria, and then Wauchope in NSW where he learned to fly, according to his website.
Edelsten played a key role in getting the Swans up and running after the club moved from South Melbourne to Sydney when he bought the team back in 1985 for a reported $6.3 million, clearing the club of all its debts.
Central to his purchase of the Swans was the recruitment of future Brownlow Medallist Williams, along with teammates David Bolton and Bernard Toohey from Geelong.
Along with his association with the Swans, Edelsten was also a long-time benefactor of the Carlton Football Club, and was awarded life membership in 2013.
An eccentric Edelsten lived a life in the spotlight, but also in the courts.
In 1975 he opened a nightclub called Centrefold – but was subject to extortion threats and police raids.
In 1988, NSW removed Edelsten from its medical register for using unqualified staff for laser surgery.
Then in 1990, he was convicted of perverting the court of justice and soliciting someone to assault a former patient. He was jailed for a year.
In more recent years his relationships were in the spotlight – including a high-profile marriage to Brynne Edelsten and a relationship with Gabi Grecko.
He married first wife Leanne Nesbitt in 1984. The former-model-turned-nurse was only 20 years old. At 41, Edelsten was more than twice her age.
The following year, for Leanne’s 21st birthday, the businessman reportedly gave her a pink De Tomaso sports car. That same year, he bought the license to operate the Sydney Swans for a reported $6.3 million — he was the first private owner of the football club ever.
Edelsten’s love life made headlines again in 2009 when he married Brynne Gordon, a fitness instructor from California. He was 67 at the time, she was 26.
The couple tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at Melbourne’s Crown Casino just nine months after being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend in Las Vegas. It was said to have cost more than $3 million.
After their wedding, Brynne — known for her flamboyant and flashy outfits — became a regular on the Aussie celebrity circuit and even appeared on TV shows such as Dancing With The Stars and Celebrity Splash, before landing her own reality show, Brynne: My Bedazzled Life, in 2012, where cameras followed her on extravagant shopping sprees and lavish holidays.
But their glamorous lifestyles came undone in late 2013 when the couple secretly called it quits.
Next came Gabi Grecko. Edelsten married the 24-year-old American model in June 2015, just months after he finalised his divorce from Brynne.
The pair were on and off for a number of years before finally calling it quits for good in 2019.