Here is a copy of some thoughts I shared when I heard the news about my friend Dr Robert Lockhart’s recent passing.
Robert was well known and loved in the raw vegan movement and had spoken many times at the Woodstock Fruit Festival. News of his death was a shock to all who new him.
RIP Dr Robert Lockhart
It has been confirmed by his family that he passed away recently and that a memorial service will be held on the 8th of December near his home in Australia.
My first memory of Robert was when he started a conversation with me at the Woodstock Fruit Festival. He had heard my accent and told me that he was originally from Scotland also.
He would say “What did I do in a past life to deserve to be born in a cold place like Scotland!”
A few mornings later, I went to the basketball court on my own and Robert was already up in the middle of his work out. This included pull ups and handstand walking.
I remember thinking “I want to be like this when I am 70”
I spent a little time with him and felt fortunate to be able to get the chance to ask him some questions. His example had a powerful effect on me. He was totally committed to his raw diet and he inspired me to have that same level of commitment to my health.
His stories were legendary. Robert was one of the first people to
export Durian from Australia to China and grew many rare tropical
fruits on his farm. He told us that he lived on Durian alone for
months at a time. However his wife hated Durian so he had to leave
the house to eat it.
One day she said “It’s either ME or the Durian!”.
I learned about his past, that he had moved to New Zealand first at an early age and moved to the US to study Chiropractic. He had worked with the man that invented the Moon Boots (an item he also brought along to Woodstock to let people hang upside down) and had met some of the “nature boys” like Gypsy Boots.
He had a total commitment to the raw diet and the body’s ability to heal from anything. Also, I believe in his later years he was looking more into practices that he believed would help extend life such as caloric restriction, intermittent fasting and dry fasting.
Robert was a pioneer. He did things other people were not prepared to do to get results that few people experienced. He experimented on himself and did not expect anyone else to do what he was doing.
He was used to pushing himself to the limits and it seems that particularly with his experiments with dry fasting that he may have pushed a little too far.
You won’t be forgotten Robert, there was truly no one like you. A
real one of a kind.
END OF ARTICLE
His family, shared some more detail about the time leading up to his death, including some detail from the doctors that looked after him in the last days. I will share this below, in italics, unedited:
We’re so sorry to announce the passing of our dear father & husband Robert Lockhart who transitioned yesterday the 29th of November at 6:06pm at age 75. We can understand the disbelief of many who knew him, as he was so full of life. His daughters Tulani Lockhart, Meah Robertson and his wife Ree Anna cared for him for the weeks leading up to his death. We’ve had many messages from his friends, loved ones and the community sharing their love and support, thank you so much to everyone for their kindness.
Rob was a great man who loved to help and mentor others. His long standing career over 45 years as an excellent Chiropractor impacted many. His great passion however was his diet, nature cure and being an advocate of healthy living. Both in eating raw foods, educating about physical activity and the human frame. We all know he was the best at handstands! We’d like to clarify the chain of events that lead to his body shutting down, as it wasn’t just one thing. As you may or may not be aware Rob has eaten only a raw food diet for nearly 40 years.
Over the last 10 years he significantly decreased his intake of water, drinking only minimal coconut water or freshly squeezed juice, quoting that he got all the water he needed from the high intake of mainly fruits he was eating. In the last 5 years he commenced “dry fasting” for periods of time which meant no food or fluids including water for extended periods, up to 48 hours. He would also intermittently fast each day no food no water for roughly 19 hours with a 5 hour eating window. The doctors believe this had done significant damage to his kidneys over the years as scans & tests performed showed atrophy, scarring and significantly reduced function.
Rob’s immune system was suffering and he picked up a chest infection from a bacteria called Melioidosis, this is found in the soil in tropical climates. He was a avid planter of rare fruits and was constantly tending to his trees & orchard. This contributed to a bad cough and mucous on the lungs which he said “I’m just eliminating, don’t worry”. He then proceeded to do a dry fast of 72 hours no food no fluids, which pushed his body too far which he admitted. In the subsequent weeks he was quite debilitated. His kidneys started to shut down, which then meant he couldn’t clear the fluid from his lungs, and his electrolyte balance was thrown out. Having a proper balance of electrolytes including potassium ensures the heart beats properly. Combined with his lungs not getting adequate oxygen due to the infection which was later diagnosed as pneumonia also put more pressure on his heart.
After much coaxing he reluctantly went to hospital for treatment as he was on the verge of complete kidney failure and a cardiac arrest at home. He accepted testing and treatment in hospital. Their quality of care & respect for Robert was amazing and blessed us with another 2 weeks with him. Last Saturday he suffered with two massive cardiac arrests then was placed in ICU on life support. We were all hoping he would recover, however over the week unfortunately he didn’t regain consciousness (although we believe he could hear us at times) there were no significant signs of neurological activity. His organs including lungs, kidneys, liver and heart continued to fail.
In the last week they had him on dialysis, a ventilator and medication to keep his heart beating. His condition continued to deteriorate and we were advised that there was no treatment options to fix his enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy) and leaking valves with an ejection fraction of 15-20% at most with medication stimulation.
Out of respect for his wishes we (Tulani, Rheana, Meah and the doctors) made a joint decision to let him go peacefully without being plugged into any machines or medications. It has been a very hard time. However we believe he was in the end happy to be set free.
We hope that everyone can respect him and his memory lovingly without judgment or blame. We’ll be having a celebration of life for Rob next Sunday the 8th of December at 1:00pm, 66 Johanna Road Trinity Park. If you’d like to come to say your goodbyes you’re more than welcome. To honor Rob we’ll have a big fruit party (no alcohol please). Feel free to message Meah Robertson, Tulani Lockhart or Ree Anna if you’d like any additional information. Much love Meah, Tulani and Rheana
END OF FAMILY MESSAGE
For a number of years, I have heard stories of people coming to harm and dying from the practise of dry fasting. I have always banned it from being a topic for presentation at the UK Fruitfest as I already had seen how far the idea was spreading within this community and the negative impact it had had.
I call on other events, on other leaders in this community, and on the community of raw vegans and fruitarians around the world in general to stop spreading the dangerous idea of dry fasting before others are affected.
If you would like to educate yourself further on this topic, feel free to read this article by Dr Doug Graham, that we have shared a number of times in the past:
I hope this email has served to bring some more light to this situation.
Robert will be missed. I filmed a number of videos and conversations with him and enjoyed his company. Here are some interviews I filmed with him over the years: