Two days before a predicted Labor return to government, party great Bob Hawke has died, remembered as a giant of Australian politics and one of the nation's greatest leaders.
The former prime minister died peacefully at his Sydney home on Thursday, aged 89.
"Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian - many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era," his wife Blanche d'Alpuget said in a statement.
Mr Hawke has been remembered by all sides of politics as a man who made Australia better and as a "bloke" loved by all.
"Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke. But his legacy will endure forever," Labor leader Bill Shorten said in Sydney on Thursday night.
"Bob Hawke changed Australia for the better. He brought people together, he brought Australia together, he modernised our economy, he transformed our society, he protected our environment."
Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison called him one of Australia's great prime ministers and certainly Labor's greatest.
"His achievements will be spoken of in the days ahead but the thing Australians will remember most about him was the bloke," Mr Morrison said..
Mr Hawke was Labor's most successful federal leader, leading the country from 1983 to 1991, but was known as much for his larrikinism as he was his policies that helped modernise post-war Australia.
He frequently sculled beers, making the Guinness Book of Records for downing a yard glass while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and even in his later years would indulge fans at the cricket by knocking back drinks.
But he gave up the drink while prime minister and proudly boasted he "didn't touch a drop" while in the top job.
The former ACTU leader rose through union and Labor ranks and won the party four elections, with his wife and mother to their children Hazel by his side.
He struck a transformative partnership with treasurer Paul Keating and even though their relationship soured when Mr Keating deposed him in 1991, they reconciled in recent years.
"In what was our last collaboration, Bob and I were delighted to support Bill Shorten last week in recounting the rationale we employed in opening Australia to the world," Mr Keating said in a statement.
"The country is much the poorer for Bob Hawke's passing."
After losing the prime ministership, Mr Hawke's marriage hit the rocks and eventually he and Hazel divorced, marrying his biographer Ms d'Alpuget in 1995.
His family will hold a private funeral. A memorial service will be held in Sydney in coming weeks.
Mr Hawke's death comes days before the federal election, something he predicted in December he would not see because of ill health.
Tributes flowed on Thursday night, honouring Mr Hawke's policy-making and its lasting impact.
"Among his proudest achievements were large increases in the proportion of children finishing high school, his role in ending apartheid in South Africa and his successful international campaign to protect Antarctica from mining," Ms d'Alpuget said.
"He abhorred racism and bigotry. His father, the Reverend Clem Hawke, told Bob that if you believed in the Fatherhood of God then you must also believe in the Brotherhood of Man. Bob would add today the Sisterhood of Women."
ACTU secretary Sally McManus and president Michele O'Neil said "millions of working people owe their health, their prosperity and their dignity in retirement to Bob's work."
Mr Morrison said Mr Hawke made Australia stronger.
"It was his ability to connect with everyday Australians with a word, with that larrikin wit, with that connection and an understanding of everyday Australian life that we will most remember Bob Hawke," Mr Morrison said.
"It was Bob Hawke who changed our national anthem to say 'Australians all let us rejoice'.
"I think we can all say as Australians that we rejoice in the life of Bob Hawke. We thank him for his service to our nation and we pray now that he rest in peace."
Australian Associated Press