THE family of Australian man Warren Rodwell have spoken of their relief at hearing the 54-year-old is free after being held captive by terrorists for more than 15 months in the Philippines.

Islamic terrorist organisation Abu Sayyaf was demanding $2 million for his release.

The Australian Government refused to pay the ransom, and his family, based in NSW and Western Australia, attempted to raise the money themselves.

Filipino politicians helped negotiate the release.

But it was unclear if any money was handed over.

Mr Rodwell's cousin, Susan Lorainne-Ford, said his release was a huge relief and the family was keen to see Mr Rodwell come home.

She said the Australian Government helped to negotiate, but did not provide any financial assistance.

The kidnappers were believed to be from the Islamic Abu Sayyaf terrorist organisation.

They released the former Australian army officer in Pagadian City, a regional centre on the south-west tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula, at 4.30am on Friday.

Looking even more gaunt and frail that he did when the last photographs of him were released six weeks ago, Mr Rodwell was helped from a helicopter at a military base in Zamboanga City.

Police in Pagadian, a port city about 100km east of the town where Mr Rodwell was kidnapped, joked with him after he arrived at a police station.

On arrival, Mr Rodwell was flanked by US soldiers and several unidentified Australian men.

The helicopter had flown Mr Rodwell from Pagadian City.

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