Australian Underworld Figure Mark 'Chopper' Read Dead At 58

Chopper Read deadPhoto: YouTube

Australian underworld figure Mark “Chopper” Read has died of cancer in Melbourne. He was 58.

In August this year a frail and gaunt Chopper revealed his doctors had told him he wouldn’t live until Christmas.

He claimed his illness – cancer of the liver – stemmed from contracting Hepatitis C while in prison.

He did a range of public speaking appearances afterwards to try and raise money for his two children.

Mark Read was a standover man in Melbourne’s underworld in the 1970s. He was convicted of a string of violent offences including kidnapping and armed robbery.

In prison he had another inmate cut off his ears. There are varying accounts for the motivation – he once claimed it was for a bet – and some say this is where he got his nickname “Chopper”.

In his lifetime he spent more than 23 years in prison for various offences including fatal shootings.

After his release in 1998, Read used his notoriety to embark on a different career in media appearances, a commentator on criminal culture and as a crime author.

Read was played by Eric Bana — in one of his breakthrough roles — in a biopic called Chopper released in 2000.

Read posted this video last year when he went on a social media drive spurred by someone impersonating him on the internet.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Tagged In

australian stories