‘True gentleman’: Much-loved Wollongong cop Robert Sasagi dies

Police officer Robert Sasagi knew his time had run out. He’d had ups and downs during his three-year cancer battle, but this time it was the real thing, the “Real McCoy”.

He’d known it for a few weeks. He wrote it down in a post he asked his wife Kath to share once he had gone.

The much-loved Wollongong cop died on Sunday, but not before spending one last birthday on Friday with his wife and children. And not before his NSW Police Force colleagues showed one last sign of respect.

Wollongong commander Superintendent Chris Craner paid a personal visit to Constable Sasagi’s bedside in Austinmer on Friday to deliver news he had been promoted to senior constable.

Supt Craner said Rob was considered a “senior mentor for the troops”, had worked as a senior investigator and deserved the promotion. 

The boss made a special application to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and had it approved post-haste. 

”It’s an emotional time for his family and colleagues and it’s important that he was appropriately recognised,” Supt Craner told the Mercury.

Word of the senior constable’s death spread quickly, with tributes flowing from police and members of the broader community. 

A keen footy player, the Wollongong Police Falcons said the world had lost one of its greats.

“He will be remembered as the true gentleman that he was and one of the toughest blokes I know to pull on a Falcons jersey,” the club said.

A career highlight was Rob’s 2014 commendation for brave conduct. Whilst off-duty, he witnessed a man clutch a bloodied arm on a passenger train. He disarmed the offender and detained her until on-duty police arrived.

According to his wife Kath, Rob wanted to spend his last days at home and she felt lucky his wish came true. She shared on Facebook the post he had prepared. 

“The problem when suddenly faced with your own mortality is timing,” he wrote. 

On the job: Senior Constable Rob Sasagi during a major drug raid in December 2016. The popular police officer died on Sunday. Picture: Robert Peet

On the job: Senior Constable Rob Sasagi during a major drug raid in December 2016. The popular police officer died on Sunday. Picture: Robert Peet

“Initially, you think you have no time to do everything you planned to do with your life. Then you think you have plenty of time. Time to tell people the important things … Now arrives the time when the newest scare returns.

“It’s not a matter of timing, I know there’s none left. I won’t tell you not to be sad, because if it were any of you, I’d be sad. Just know that I’m at ease and have come to terms with it.”

Tributes

Constable Robert Sasagi was presented with a bravery award in 2005 after he disarmed a woman with a knife who had just stabbed someone on a train.

Constable Robert Sasagi was presented with a bravery award in 2005 after he disarmed a woman with a knife who had just stabbed someone on a train.

So sad RIP you died a hero to humanity. Janet Selby, Albion Park

Dear Rob. It saddens me to hear that you are no longer with us mate, but I am releaved that you are now at peace. I will miss our morning discussions about our belovered Parramatta Eels. In those famous Pellegrini words ‘usual coffee Rob’ I will endeavour to continue this legacy in your honour mate. Always remembered. Denis & Dave, (Bar Pellegrini) Keiraville

Our lives are so much enhanced having had you on that jouney as a workmate more importantly as a bloody great friend and human being. Sincere condolences to all your family. You were so brave, may you rest in eternal peace my friend. Paul Davidson Primbee

Thank you for all that you did for our region. My thoughts are with your loved ones. Mandy Mt Warrigal

Our Thoughts are with Robert and his Family. We are all proud and grateful for Roberts service in the force. May he rest in peace and watch over us in another life ❤ Alex Breslin, Coniston

RIP MATE, AND BIG THANK U TO ALL MEN IN BLUE SAM, WARILLA

You were a terrific mentor to the junior troops. RIP Good man. Vito Gaudiosi, Dapto

I remember when he got the bravery award in 2005. Well deserved, but that was Rob. Worked GDs with him a few times. Will be sadly missed Dave M, Figtree

A true gentleman and a genuine man. It was a pleasure to know you and work alongside you. You will be missed Sausage. Fly high xx Sharon Johnson, Nichols Hunter Valley

I didn’t know you but as a retired cop, I dip my hat to you.....RIP Spike McCallum, North Avoca Beach

Sad news. prayers to all family members. John Stephenson, Tarrawanna

Blessed are Gods children go in peace.He will always protect his family from cop Heaven Susan Caruana, Ipswich Queensland.

Oh Rob! Pete Theodore, Woonona

A brave protector gone to rest !! Sleep in peace in His arms and suffer no more Vincent de Vos, Oak Flats

RIP Rob. A great shamrock lost. A pleasure to have had u as mate Adam Potter, Shamrocks

A good man Norman, Woonona

Had the pleasure of working with Rob at Redfern many years ago always a bright light whatever shade the rest of the world seemed. Thanks Rob Barry Wright, Ulladulla

Hi Kathy.....very sorry indeed to hear of your loss Dic Morgan, Camden Town, London

So sad and so proud. Loved your family and loyal to your brother and sisters in arms. Uncle Fraser, Sue and Paris Perth, Western Australia

You were a top bloke and you will be missed. Rest easy mate Aiden, Dapto

RIP Robert xx Jo. Mahssen, Shell cove

Nephew you are now at the card table in the sky with our beloved aiga who have passed. Keep an eye on their sleight of hand eh? Alofa atu Aunty Tina Aunty Tina, Melbourne

Malo le tau. Malo le toa. Manuia lau malaga Robert. Alofa atu julienne and ted. Julienne Johnston, Hillsborough 

Deepest sympathy to your family. Thank you for all you did. Heather Tweedie, Coffs Harbour 

I understand the feeling which is close to my heart. Lovely too get to do these things. Thinking of you and your family. Maureen Stephenson, Woonona

Fate whispers to the Warrior, " You can not withstand the Storm" The Warrior Whispers back I am The Storm; you will be sadly missed my cousin, but never forgotten, Arohanui. Ringo Rissetto,West Auckland, New Zealand

Alofa atu Rob, e manuia lou malaga Rest in Love Michael Mau'u, Glen Eden New Zealand

Rest in Peace and Love Cuz Robert. Timu. Auvaa .Tito, Blacktown

The world will be a quieter place without your smile, heart and friendship, you were a true Argonaut in my life thank you for your freindship. Doug Ringhoff, NSW

May you rest in peace my old Redfern mate. Loved your sense of humour & everything about you. Fly high my friend. Lesley Townsend, Redfern

RIP Rob I didn’t know you personally but you touched my heart,my sincere condolences to your wife and children,family ,friends, and your other family the police . Roslyn Colyton

Truly one of the best. The sun shines a little less brightly knowing you have gone. Sending our love to Kath and the family. Tracey Lee Gallant, Currumbin Valley, Qld

Rob you were a funny guy a great friend and true team mate our time on the field and off will never be forgotten ... A real hero, a spirited warrior and always an Argonaut forever your memory will be treasured ... Rest in peace Brother Mick Renfrey Yorke, Peninsula, SA

Afio mai le Toa Afio mai le Gafa tasi o Samoa atoa Lau Afioga Robert Sasagi Fuimaono Ta'ala Manuia le Malaga. Alofa tele atu xoxo Leia & Susan Fereti /Fuimaono Leia Fereti-Fuimaono Urangan, Queensland

RIP cuz Robert Sasagi.Manuia lau malaga. Tessa n Aleni Letele-Sasagi, Minchinbury