Matt Callander, former Nine NRL boss, dies aged 46

The television and sporting worlds are mourning the death of Nine's former NRL boss Matt Callander.

The father of four, who helped raise $2 million for cancer research earlier this year through the NRL's Beanie for Brain Cancer round, battled the disease for more than a year. He died on Sunday surrounded by his family.

Callander was the son of media personality and Wide World of Sports racing legend Ken Callander. He worked with Nine for two decades, starting as a producer on the network's Footy Show before facing the other side of the camera as a respected commentator.

"It breaks your heart," Today sports presenter Tim Gilbert told viewers. "A beautiful guy who battled so hard."

Nine's director of sport Tom Malone told staff Callander's rugby league knowledge was second to none.

"His painstaking attention to detail with the NRL draw was a massive factor in our success in broadcasting and retaining rugby league on Nine," he said.

"He continued to work right until the end. He was loved by all for his quiet understated approach and his terrific way of dealing with producers, talent, production staff - everyone.

"That all pales into insignificance with the way Matt approached the past 18 months. Faced with a diagnosis most would find overwhelming, Matt chose to use his story to help others. He leaves a remarkable legacy."

The NRL said in a statement it had "lost a champion".

"The Rugby League world has lost a champion in Matt Callander, who leaves a lasting legacy in [the] Beanie for Brain Cancer Round," the league said.

Earlier this year, Callander told Fairfax Media he wanted to raise money for brain cancer research because life expectancy rates have not changed in 30 years.

"There's a direct correlation between research and getting a cure," he said. "Nothing's increased in that time. It's just about making it cool. Beanies are the best way to help raise awareness about how bad the stats are."

Callander is survived by his wife, Anne, and their four children.

This story Matt Callander, former Nine NRL boss, dies aged 46 first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.