A state funeral will be held for beloved Melbourne restaurateur Sisto Malaspina after he was killed in Friday‘s Bourke Street terror attack.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who described Malaspina as a “Victorian icon”, confirmed the news on Twitter this afternoon.
“I spoke to his family again this morning, and they have accepted my offer of a State Funeral next week, with more details to come,” Andrews wrote. “Until then, our love and thoughts remain with Sisto’s family.”
Sisto Malaspina was a Victorian icon, known and loved by us all. I spoke to his family again this morning, and they have accepted my offer of a State Funeral next week, with more details to come. Until then, our love and thoughts remain with Sisto's family.— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) November 12, 2018
The 74-year-old was a deeply loved and renowned figure in Melbourne’s hospitality hub, with dozens tying him to the city’s rich coffee culture.
Pellegrini’s, which Malaspina had run since 1974, has since been blanketed with hundreds of written and floral tributes.
In a statement, via Nine News, the Malaspina family said they were “deeply moved by all the flowers, gifts and condolences.”
They also thanked the first responders and police for their bravery and heroism.
“Dad was a larger than life character and his natural generosity made every individual he met feel welcome and important,” the family said.
“Each customer of Dad’s was given the same respect and service regardless of their standing in society. To him everyone was special. His love and passion for his customers remained the same for over 40 years. To him it was a joy to go to work every day.”
“To us he was just a beautiful man, a loving husband and a doting father.”
The family of Sisto Malaspina have released a statement. The family plan to donate the enormous amount of beautiful flowers outside Pellegrini's to nursing homes and hospitals to "brighten-up other's lives". #9News pic.twitter.com/FxlkOctgfL— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) November 12, 2018
Afterwards, Pellegrini’s also shared a beautiful statement thanking the community for their support and love. The coffee house also encouraged those who were considering a floral tribute, to instead donate the funds to The Salvation Army on Bourke Street.
Pellegrini’s, which has been closed since the incident, will re-open tomorrow, Tuesday 13 November. In honour of their late friend, boss, and partner the coffee house will be serving long blacks for free – Sisto’s favourite.
Pellegrini’s full statement reads:
“In the wake of the tragic events of last Friday everyone at Pellegrini’s has been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of sympathy and kindness.
“Through Pellegrini’s, our late friend, boss and partner Sisto Malaspina, will always be part of Melbourne as Melbourne will always be part of us.
“Our lasting tribute to Sisto will be to continue to serve the people of Melbourne and others from around the country and other parts of the world with whom we have shared much happiness over the decades and now share our grief.
“Pellegrini’s will re-open tomorrow, Tuesday 13 November. We will be serving long blacks for free. It was Sisto’s favourite and will be in memory of him.
“We are all very appreciative of and comforted by the tributes to our late friend, especially the floral shrine that has grown over the past few days.
“To those who have laid flowers – Thank-You. We would like to request that anyone who is considering a floral tribute to instead make a donation to our great neighbours The Salvation Army across Bourke Street.
“We are endeavouring to collect the existing floral tributes and make arrangements for them to be sent to a recipient hospital because we believe it will give joy to others. The giving of joy to others is the very essence of what Sisto and everyone at Pellegrini’s have always tried to do.
“We look forward to opening our doors tomorrow and providing Melbournians with the opportunity to remember our friend and colleague in a place that he loved and they love.”
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Image: Getty Images / James Ross