Former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke dies ‘peacefully’ at 89

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 05: Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke skulls a cold beer during day two of the Fifth Test match in the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 5, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister and longest Labor-serving leader, has died at the age of 89. He led the country from 1983-1991.

Hawke was renowned for his policies which helped modernise the Australian economy, including deregulating the financial sector. He also established the country’s Medicare and superannuation systems, helped steer Australian law as independent of British rule, and advocated for environmental causes.

Hawke’s wife and former biographer Blanche d’Alpuget released a statement on Thursday evening saying Hawke “died peacefully at home,” and that his family would have a private funeral for him ahead of a memorial service in Sydney in the coming weeks.

“Bob Hawke and Paul Keating and their governments modernised the Australian economy, paving the way for an unprecedented period of recession-free economic growth and job creation,” she wrote.

“Bob was dearly loved by his family, and so many friends and colleagues. We will miss him.”

“The golden bowl is broken,” she added.

Current Labor Party leader Bill Shorten tweeted his condolences, saying the movement had lost its “greatest son.”

“Australians everywhere remember and honour a man who gave so much to the country and people he cared for so deeply. May he rest in peace.”

Hawke is survived by his wife Blanche, three children Sue, Stephen, and Rosslyn, stepson Louis, and grandchildren.