Radio veteran and beloved Adelaide Hills community member Mel Dee Dzelde has died at the Mary Potter Hospice while receiving care for cancer and motor neurone disease.
Chris Dzelde, her husband and fellow radio identity, has announced the news on social media overnight.
“The world became a little darker this morning at 9.30am when my beloved wife, Mel Dee Dzelde, passed away peacefully in her sleep,” Chris said yesterday, Thursday 8 December.
“Her joy and incredibly gracious spirit will, however, live on in all who were touched by her particularly powerful, wonderful magic.”
“Thank you my darling wife, for nearly ten years of married bliss! (we still called ourselves Newlyweds!), and I remain in constant awe of the happiness you beamed over EVERYONE! And, we’ll make sure the beams continue! (they may even be more powerful now!)”
Hundreds of people have commented on his posts expressing sadness and condolences, saying Mel was a true friend, a positive light and inspiration.
The community has really rallied behind the Dzeldes. During a recent ARN broadcast and fundraiser, supporters collectively donated $83,695 to help clear the family’s debt, and pay for medical expenses.
Internationally celebrated celebrity and friend of Mel’s Oprah Winfrey donated $15,000 and joined the broadcast via Facetime.
“You are such an inspiration. You are the greatest human spirit we have all witnessed. We’ve never met a woman like you,” Oprah said during the call.
5MU and Power FM Content Director, Adam Connelly has paid tribute to Mel on air.
“Inspiring is a word thrown about to often, but in Mel’s case the word is simply insufficient. One of the fiercest advocates for living life… Mel had a transformative affect on the lives of everyone she met,” Adam said this morning.
Mel and Chris worked at 5MU and Power FM for more than a decade, bringing professionalism, joy and laughter to the workplace.
They announced September 2020 they would be departing the stations after spending four months on extended leave while Mel received adequate care for stage 4 rectal cancer.
“After 12 years working for Grant Broadcasters as Content Director for Power FM and 5MU, it’s time for me to say goodbye,” Mel said at the time.
“Cancer has a way of showing you your priorities and for me, I’m visualising a future free to explore new projects and opportunities… I know I’ll be a better version of myself as a result.”
Since then, while being supported by Chris as her primary carer, Mel has released a colourful children’s story with artist Donna Sharam called ‘Azzurra: The Dragons of Plenshia’, which encourages children to find their inner strength and rely on it to heal themselves no matter what they face in life.
Mel wrote an inspiring article for Oprah Daily in 2021, titled ‘I’m Terminally Ill But I’ve Never Been Happier’ in which she spoke of her positive attitude in both dark times and light.
“With no time to waste, I watch my thoughts and live for each precious moment. It’s not always easy. Having undergone nine surgeries and facing death, I don’t always wake up feeling positive. At times I’m in pain, or afraid. And it’s then that I call on my inner voice—as well as the love that surrounds me—to return me to a place where I can again see myself as having the capacity for joy, still, no matter what,” Mel wrote.
Mel is survived by her husband Chris, children Shannon, Casey, Makenzie, father Ross and mother Lynn.