Henri Bource was known as the "miracle man" by the doctors at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
He not only survived a shark attack, but returned to the water just six weeks after his brush with death to learn more about the fierce predator that almost killed him.
Filming underwater at Lady Julia Percy Island on November 29, 1964, Henri Bource was surrounded by playful seals when they suddenly vanished.
Feeling nervous about their hasty departure, the diver rose towards the surface before a great white shark savaged his left leg.
Bource later said he tried to get his leg free by jamming his hand down the shark's throat and gouging its eyes.
With his detached leg floating in the water, the amateur filmmaker told his diving partners to keep filming the gruesome scene.
He had lost his leg at the knee, but Bource retained his verve, spirit and fearless attitude.
He would be back in the water diving just six weeks later, and would later use the graphic original footage and recreate other scenes to be used in his documentary about the attack, 1969's Savage Shadows.
Within three weeks of the attack, the saxophonist was also back performing with his pioneering rock group, the Thunderbirds.
"Nearly spoiled my day, it did," he later dryly said of the incident at the volcanic rock off Portland's coast.
"I was back on air about three weeks later. Johnny Chester welcomed me back. The band used to stand on a raised platform. The camera panned over to (me) with one leg and all the band pulled one leg up. So there were five guys standing on one leg."
Bource was nothing if not a relentless fighter.
Battling leukaemia in August 1998, the saxophonist was determined to play a celebratory gig he organised at the Preston Town Hall, marking the 41st anniversary of the Thunderbirds' first ever appearance.
He told his oncologist that he had a show to perform, "so I'm not going yet".
The band was one of the first popular exponents of rock and roll in Australia, with Wild Weekend, New Orleans Beat and Machine Gun among its top-10 hits in the late 1950s and early '60s.
The instrumental act toured with international artists like Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison and John Denver and backed local legends Johnny O'Keefe, and Normie Rowe.
At 63, the illness finally caught up with him and he died on September 4, 1998.
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