“Beloved” Brisbane clown Peter ‘Peebo’ Bissell has died after decades of life bringing joy despite constant health complications, his identical twin clown brother David ‘Dagwood’ Bissell has confirmed.
- Identical twins Peter and David Bissell were born with cystic fibrosis in 1973
- The pair’s clown partnership stemmed from their many years spent in hospital wards as children
- In early February, Peter was in hospital battling liver cancer
The much-loved and well-known Queensland entertainers were born with cystic fibrosis in 1973 and were not expected to live past three or four years of age.
Four decades and a double lung transplant each later, the duo were facing more health problems, with doctors telling them their latest health conditions were inoperable.
In early February, Peter was battling liver cancer and posted an update on Facebook to his followers.
“Because of failing kidneys and their rejection and a lung transplant, they [the doctors] aren’t able to offer me any chemo,” Peter wrote.
Today, David posted on Facebook that his brother had passed away.
“It’s with a broken heart and much sadness, to share with you, that my beloved beautiful twin brother ‘Peebo’ has passed away,” David wrote.
“No more pain. No more suffering. He Lived Life, He Loved Life & He Laughed.
“He has touched so many lives and inspired many. He made people laugh & smile.
“I love you bro & I miss you.”
Tracey Price paid tribute to Peter in a post, saying: “Heaven just gained an amazing clown angel.”
“The happiness he brought to everyone will be forever in the hearts who laughed. Take care of yourself.”
Ingrid Patterson wrote that her heart was “broken”.
“I’m so very sorry for your loss of a wonderful, amazing, caring, funny brother named Peter/Peebo. He has earned his angel wings,” she wrote.
“He will now entertain the children on the other side. Thank you David, for including us and it takes strength and courage to tell us this devastating news … Now there is an awesome clown angel.
“We love you Peebs. Always going to be in our hearts. Never forgotten.”
‘Make each day count’
In an emotional interview from his hospital bed in February, Peter told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Rebecca Levingston that the pair were putting up the good fight, but had felt they were in a losing battle.
“For us personally it’s a big mountain to climb and I can’t see anything coming out of it,” Peter said.
“We just want to make each day count. You don’t want to count your days but you’ve got to make them count.”
Peter and David’s clown partnership stemmed from their many years spent in hospital wards, with David previously telling the ABC they learnt to be clowns while being in-patients as children.
“We have a lot to do with the oncology ward at the Royal Brisbane Hospital as we know first hand what it is like being a child in hospital,” David said in 2014.
“So from that very first day back on August 19, 1973, we’ve been doing miracles every single day.
“Even the prognosis back then was ‘you’re lucky to pass toddler age’ and ‘you’re lucky to pass teenage-hood’.”
He said their struggle had taught them their most important life lesson, to “live life, love life and laugh and make everyday count and suck the guts out of it”.
“You may only know someone for five minutes in your lifetime, but you can put a smile on their face. And that’s what our clowning does for us,” Peter said.