And there was one person unfailingly by his side throughout his battle – his girlfriend Tahnee Sims.
The 29-year-old, who works in product development for fast fashion brand White Fox Boutique, was described by Ruffo as his ‘guardian angel’.
‘Without her I may not be here,’ Johnny told Now To Love last year.
‘She was the one who made me get in the car [to go to hospital] when it [the headaches] first happened,’ he continued.
‘And she’s encouraging me to do things. She keeps me active, getting me to go for runs and swims,’ he went on.
‘We just have fun. We make each other laugh so much, You know that gut-wrenching laugh with tears coming from your eyes?’
Ruffo added: ‘We argue and fight just like every other couple, but we make up too.’
The couple first met at a dance studio back in 2015 and were inseparable ever since.
Tahnee regularly went to appointments with Johnny, sharing clips of the star undergoing treatment.
‘She’s remarkable. I can’t give her enough kudos for how amazing she’s been and how much I’ve been able to lean on her for support,’ he told Perth radio station Youth Jam recently.
‘I honestly do not know how she’s done it. Sometimes I feel like she’s gone through a harder time than me because she’s had to go through everything with me – minus the actual chemo – but she’s also had to deal with me, my ups and downs and being a d***head.’
Johnny spoke about his concerns about how Tahnee would cope after his death in a heartbreaking interview on The Project last year.
‘You can only imagine how difficult it’s been for her,’ he told then host Carrie Bickmore.
‘What plays in my head a lot is, I hate to say this, how hard it may be for her if something does happen to me,’ he explained.
‘So, it’s something that I don’t want to think about. It just gets me a little bit emotional about it because I know at some point something will happen, whether it’s, you know, a month from now or 10 years from now or 20 years.’
Ruffo also told Bickmore he had already outlived his life expectancy.
‘At some point it will get me but I’m still fighting. Still kicking on. Looking up my diagnosis and my tumour, the average life expectancy was three years,’ he said.
The singer explained in an extract from his new memoir, No Finish Line, that he hoped to have a family with Tahnee.
‘Suddenly I was having to have conversations about chemotherapy, radiation, and whether it was necessary to freeze my sperm just in case I became infertile,’ he wrote.
‘There’s something about nearly dying that puts things in perspective for you… Up until that point, the only real things that had mattered in my life, in no particular order, were performing, recording music, acting, Tahnee, family and partying with friends’ he wrote.
The singer passed away on Friday morning at a Sydney hospital, his spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
The actor died peacefully with his family and beloved partner Tahnee by his side.
The heartbreaking news was announced on his Instagram page on Friday.
‘It is with a heavy heart that today we had to farewell our beloved Johnny,’ a statement read.
‘Surrounded by his partner Tahnee and family, Johnny went peacefully with the support of some incredible Nurses & Doctors.
‘He was a very talented, charming and sometimes cheeky boy. Johnny was very determined and had a strong will. He battled all the way to the end and fought as hard as he could. Such a beautiful soul with so much more to give.
‘We all love you Johnny and will remember you for all the joy you brought to our lives. Rest easy.’
He was first diagnosed in 2017, and underwent life-saving surgery to successfully remove a seven centimetre tumour at the time.
Born in the Perth suburb of Balcatta, Ruffo’s showbusiness career began when he successfully auditioned for the third season of The X Factor Australia in 2011.
A music career followed, with Ruffo releasing several hit singles including On Top and Take It Home.
But he is perhaps best known for starring as fan favourite Chris Harrington on Home and Away between 2013 and 2016.
He also appeared on that show’s soap rival Neighbours in 2020.