Anna Vergotis lived the high life when things were good, but never shied away from the tough times.
Anna Vergotis lived the high life when things were good, but never shied away from the tough times.

Friends, family ‘shattered’ over A-lister’s death

WITH her stunning blonde locks, enormous eyelashes and a passion for expensive "it" bags, Anna Vergotis knew how to make a statement.

A popular fixture at Brisbane's key social events in the 1990s and 2000s, Anna was also vivacious, kind and fiercely loyal to those in her inner circle. She loved a chat, she loved to laugh, but most of all, she loved her family.

Yesterday, at 2.45am, Anna lost her battle with cancer. She was 51.

Anna was the devoted wife of Steve Vergotis, a high-flying fruit and vegetable supplier who was sensationally jailed after being found guilty of conspiring to rip off Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast between 1993 and 2001 in an elaborate scheme using phantom invoices.

"A-Vee", as she was known to her friends, died as she wanted, surrounded by her husband, adult children Michael and Stavroula, and her parents Vasili and Christina Karanicolas.

Her heartbroken best friend, celebrity hairdresser Carole Haddad described Anna as "the most loving, caring, honest and loyal person" she'd ever met.


Anna Vergotis, socialite - Photo Supplied Facebook
Anna Vergotis, socialite - Photo Supplied Facebook


"She was so traditional in her beliefs. Family always came first, and she just desperately wanted to live," said Haddad, who runs Corcorz Hair in West End.

It was just before Christmas 2016 when an otherwise healthy Anna started coughing blood, and a lung cancer diagnosis followed.

Cared for by renowned oncologist Dr Paul Eliadis at the Wesley Hospital, she exceeded the life span she was initially given.

But last week her family were told to prepare for the worst.


"She was riddled with cancer, and she'd had stroke after stroke after stroke," said Haddad, who overcame her own battle with breast cancer.

"But nothing can ready you for this tragic loss - it has shattered my heart.

"A-Vee had been married to the one man since she was 17 and she stood by him through thick and thin."

At the height of his wealth from his now defunct Sunripe grocery supply business, Steve Vergotis, a regular patron at Gambaro's on Caxton St, drove Ferraris in the 1990s and 2000s, while his wife was known for her love of expensive "it" handbags.


Anna and husband Steve Vergotis.
Anna and husband Steve Vergotis.


Friend Danielle Harris said Steve was an excellent client of her late father John Cant, who ran Brisbane's first Ferrari dealership.

"He bought at least three Ferraris from Dad, and Anna had the latest handbags before anyone had handbags," Harris said.

"They were heady days for Brisbane. She wore big (fake) eyelashes like no one else and she really aged beautifully.

"They had a really lovely life and Steve had worked very hard, but then they lost it all and had to rebuild."

Harris said in recent years Anna had returned to part-time work as a receptionist.

"We loved her - she will be forever missed because she was just one of those special people, and she was never envious of other people."

The Courier-Mail understands that Steve is back in business, with son Michael, in a fruit and vegetable wholesaler called V One, at the Brisbane Markets.


Anna Vergotis and Carole Haddad
Anna Vergotis and Carole Haddad


He has plans to spend an more time in the US, with his long-term friend Brad Sugars, a former Brisbane motivational speaker who placed one of his firms into liquidation, owing creditors more than $1 million, in 2015. Sugars now lives in Las Vegas and it is understood Steve may be joining the public-speaking coaching circuit.


Grief-stricken Haddad described Anna as "an angel".

"I was blessed to have her in my life for 35 years," she said.

"We met at a party and just clicked, she is my sister from another mother - and I can't imagine my life without her.

"Dr Eliadis helped her go on long enough to see her son Michael get married.

"Michael's wife is expecting a baby and they have promised to name her Sianna, in memory of Anna.

"A-Vee was such a special person - she didn't deserve this."