Australia’s first TV celebrity doctor James Wright has died aged 94.

Wright is believed to have died peacefully in his sleep over the weekend, just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday.

In a previous interview with 9News, he had said he planned to live to 110.

“That’s the current plan. I might revise it later on,” he said.

Dr. James Wright. "Dr Know" Sun Special writer, Photographed at his home on the North Shore. Typing the Dr Know column.. at 1,000 worlds an hour. August 11, 1975. (Photo by Keith Edward Byron/Fairfax Media).
Dr. James Wright died over the weekend, aged 94. (Keith Edward Byron/Fairfax Media)

Known as “The Merry Medic”, he was a regular guest on Channel 9’s morning programs including The Mike Walsh Show, Midday with Ray Martin and Midday with Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

He then pivoted to radio, where he hosted programs on 2GB and 2UE.

He also contributed countless columns for publications like The Sunday Telegraph, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day and teen magazine Dolly.

Dr. James Wright. October 21, 1982.
Dr James Wright was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 1998. (Supplied)

Not only did he contribute to magazines but he also wrote 30 books over his career.

Wright had a colourful life – in fact, his name was not originally James Wright but rather he was born John Franklin Knight.

As a doctor, he was unable to use his real name on radio or in his magazine publications so adopted the professional pseudonym Dr James Wright for his media work.

He was awarded an order of Australia medal in 1998 for his work in media and philanthropy.

The celebrity doctor also faced serious health battles including fighting throat cancer in 2012 and bowel cancer five years later.

Beloved Aussie TV doctor Dr John Wright dies aged 94.
Wright was best known for his TV and radio appearances as Australia’s first celebrity doctor. (Twitter)

But his life took a turn when Wright was the victim of a serious scam scandal.

In 2005, a New Zealand fraudster conned him out of $51 million.

Former neighbour Derek Turner convinced Wright to invest tens of millions of dollars of his family’s money in his companies.

But despite the serious fraud, Wright kept a positive outlook and said it would “business as usual” for his aged care foundation.

“I’m still the happiest and healthiest doctor in Australia,” told Southern Cross radio at the time.

“This is unfortunate. I made a bad decision, but life moves on.”

Wright’s legacy lives on through his Medi-Aid Centre Foundation which continues to provide subsidised housing for older people who are unable to afford long-term accommodation.

Dr James Wright

Australia’s first celebrity doctor dies aged 94

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