It is with deep sadness that the Essendon family mourns the loss of the Bombers’ and the League’s longest-serving club doctor Bruce Reid.
After a two-year battle with mesothelioma, the Essendon Hall of Fame Legend passed away at home surrounded by his family on Tuesday night. He was 75.
Reid’s League journey began at Hawthorn, where he played three VFL games across 1966 and ’67 before graduating in medicine in ’68 while playing for Preston in the VFA.
He began as a club doctor at Richmond from 1976, remaining at Punt Road until ‘79.
After former Richmond player Kevin Sheedy was appointed Essendon coach for the 1981 season, Reid and his Tigers colleague Dr Ian Reynolds joined him at Windy Hill in ’82. It would mark the start of Reid’s 39-year career in the red and black.
Over the years, Reid treated hundreds of players and their families, long after the players’ careers had ended. More than a doctor, he became a friend and confidant to generations of Bombers.
Along with his four decades of service to Essendon, he was the doctor for four Australian International Rules teams between 1987 and 2006 and three Victorian state teams over a 20-year period, and secretary of the AFL Medical Officers Association.
Reid’s contributions were recognised in 2009 when he was awarded an AFL Lifetime Achievement Award. A year later, the AFL jointly awarded the Jack Titus Medal to Reid and his colleague Reynolds for their services to the game.
Reid was inducted into the Essendon Hall of Fame in 2014, this week elevated to Legend status alongside Dustin Fletcher, Gavin Wanganeen and Neale Daniher.
President Paul Brasher said the club and the League had lost one of the game’s most popular, respected and well-loved characters.
“Today we mourn the passing of our longest-serving club doctor Bruce Reid, and we extend our sincere condolences to Bruce’s wonderful wife Judy, their five children and their extended family,” Brasher said.
“He was a loyal, dedicated and widely loved member of our club and his impact was vast. He was the League’s longest-serving doctor and he was proudly ours. Not only our club doctor for nearly 40 years, he was a friend and confidant to many generations of players and their families.
“Our club will honour Dr Bruce Reid and hold a service to commemorate his extraordinary life at a later date, and we will posthumously honour Bruce next year with his elevation to Legend in our prestigious Hall of Fame; a very fitting honour for a man who has had a profound impact on the Essendon Football Club. We will dearly miss you, Bruce.”
CEO Xavier Campbell said it was a deeply sad day for the Essendon Football Club.
“Bruce was a true champion within our football club. He meant more than he could have ever imagined to so many and he will be sorely missed within the Essendon family and broader community,” Campbell said.
“Bruce’s legacy and impact cannot be measured. His years of service were significant, but his care, compassion, humour and positivity can never be replaced. He was a confidant and true friend to so many.”
By any measure, Reid’s lifelong service to the Bombers, the AFL and the game in general has been exceptional, and he’ll be dearly missed.
Rest in peace, Bruce.