Hawke died peacefully in his Sydney home, and a public memorial service will be held in the coming weeks, his wife Blanche d’Alpuget said in a statement.
“Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian – many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era,” d’Alpuget said.
“I and Bob’s children, Sue, Stephen, Rosslyn and stepson, Louis, and his grandchildren, will hold a private funeral. A memorial service will be held in Sydney in coming weeks.
“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.
“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.
“Bob was dearly loved by his family, and so many friends and colleagues. We will miss him.
“The golden bowl is broken.”
Hawke led the Labor party to victory in four consecutive elections from 1983, leading a transformative period in Australia during which the government established Medicare, Landcare, and superannuation schemes, deregulated the financial industry and floated the Australian dollar. He set up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and investigated but never managed a treaty with Indigenous Australia.
He served until he was ousted from the leadership by his then-treasurer Paul Keating in 1991.
The former union official was elected to federal parliament in 1980 as the MP for Wills in Victoria. He successfully challenged for the Labor leadership on 3 February 1983, 20 minutes after prime minister Malcolm Fraser called a federal election.
He was considered a charismatic and forthright politician, with an upfront and unscripted manner, a renowned drinker, brutally honest if not always likeable.
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