Packer's last words to his son

DEATH gives most people perspective. When facing his end, the tough and, at times, ''terrifying'' Kerry Packer took the opportunity to tell his son, James, something every parent should say to their child.

''He said he loved me, he said he was proud of me,'' James Packer said.

In an emotional interview on Channel Seven's Sunday Night, the only son of the media mogul spoke of the ''beautiful call'' he received from his father in the days before his death.

During the hour-long conversation, Kerry Packer also told his son that he should carve his own path in life.

''Twenty-four hours later, his doctor rang me and said, 'Get on a plane, he's only got 24 hours to live','' said Mr Packer, who broke down as he recounted the conversation. '''I got home and held his hand and he passed,'' he said.

Up until that point, Mr Packer said he found his father ''terrifying'' and ''best in the class for temper''.

''I always got a bit jumpy when dad called because I didn't know if it was going to be a good call or a bad call,'' he said.

''My dad was a larger-than-life character and I'm not going to say every minute or every hour we spent together was a highlight.''

Kerry Packer died of kidney failure on Boxing Day, 2005, aged 68.

Mr Packer also got emotional when he spoke of his friendship with Tom Cruise, which blossomed after the breakdown of his first marriage to designer Jodhi Meares in 2002 and the collapse of telecommunications company One.Tel.

''I was depressed, and emotionally exhausted,'' he said.

''My marriage had broken up. I felt isolated. I felt like a failure.

''When I was at my lowest, Tom Cruise reached out to me. He believed in me when other people didn't.''

''I think he's a very special person,'' he said.

This story Packer's last words to his son first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.