'Larger than life' Darrell Eastlake dies

David Sigston

Leading sports broadcaster Darrell Eastlake - known for his big, booming voice - has been remembered as "a larrikin", after passing away aged 75.

The former Wide World of Sports commentator, who was once the voice of State of Origin and the Commonwealth Games, had been battling Alzheimer's and emphysema for several years.

His former colleague Ken Sutcliffe said Eastlake was "a real larrikin" and had "a heart as big as Australia".

"He was larger than life, and he loved life," Sutcliffe told AAP on Thursday morning after the Nine Network announced Eastlake's death.

Eastlake worked in TV and radio for more than 40 years and was known for his trademark booming voice.

Sutcliffe remembered the first time they met in 1982, before the pair worked at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.

"He had an absolutely booming voice, but he was holding back a bit during the screen testing. Then the excitement of the Games got too much for him and he just unleashed."

Eight years later in Auckland, Eastlake was so loud he was moved from the press box to a stairwell downstairs with a TV monitor set up especially for him.

"Even then they could still hear him," Sutcliffe said.

"But everyone loved him; he was just a really good fellow."

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said Eastlake's "iconic" commentary will "always be part of the rich history of State of Origin".

"His calls were always colourful, larger than life, and he oozed passion through every tackle or big moment," he said in a statement.

Nine Network's Director of Sport Tom Malone told colleagues Eastlake understood "sport is entertainment, and for the average person, a momentary escape from their everyday life".

"Darrell's impact on Australian sport cannot be overstated. He was one of the leading voices and faces of Wide World of Sports.

"He revolutionised sports like weightlifting, Formula 1, and superbikes with his trademark excitement and 'HUUGE' commentary," Malone said in a statement.

Eastlake died at his nursing home on the NSW Central Coast with wife Julie by his side.

"He gets very down because he thinks he's forgotten, but he's not forgotten, he's really and truly not," Mrs Eastlake told Nine's A Current Affair in 2016.

AFL commentator and Nine personality Eddie McGuire, who worked with Eastlake at the Commonwealth Games, said he was "larger than life", and a man who did his homework.

"He was a great teammate and I had many great times with him. He was sensational on air," McGuire told Triple M.