Read passed away on Wednesday, October 9 after a “long and courageous battle with liver cancer,” his manager Andrew Parisi said.

Chopper was a notorious criminal who once claimed he had killed 19 people, although he later admitted in an interview with The New York Times that the real figure was probably in the single figures.

“People seem to like the stories of blood and gore so much that I just kept serving them up to them,” he explained.

Read spent almost half of his life behind bars for kidnapping, armed robbery and a string of violence offences, and was a notorious member of the Melbourne criminal underworld known to steal from drug dealers and torture for money.

After he was released in 1998 he became a celebrity figure, giving talks about his experiences of violence and life in prison, which were portrayed on the big screen in 2000 movie Chopper starring Eric Bana. He became a successful novelist, penning many semi-autobiographical and fictional crime novels influenced by his life and also took up painting, too.

Recently he had appeared in a number of adverts speaking out against drunk driving and violence against women and was satirised by Australian comedian Heath Franklin. 

He was diagnosed with cancer in April last year and was discharged from Royal Melbourne Hospital earlier this week.

Photo: Getty.