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Hazel Hawke passes away
Much-loved Australian Hazel Hawke has died at the age of 83 after succumbing to complications of dementia.
The former wife of Bob Hawke died peacefully surrounded by her family, who had been with her in her last days.
She was diagnosed with Alzeheimers disease in 2001.
Hazel Hawke in 1992 (Photo: Wayne Ludbey)
In a statement, the family says they appreciate the great affection many have for Ms Hawke.
There will be a private funeral for family and close friends followed by a memorial celebration of her life.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard tonight paid tribute to "a wonderful Australian".
"I was so sad to learn this evening that Hazel Hawke has died," Ms Gillard said in a statement tonight.
"Ordinary Australians saw the best of themselves in Hazel – many women of her generation will feel they have lost a friend.
"Hazel was one of those rare people who are liked and respected in equal measure. Her warmth and generosity of spirit in success were only matched by her courage and dignity in adversity.
"Bob Hawke's public achievements in the union movement and in Government are unthinkable without Hazel's steadfast support.
After her diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease, Hazel's life of service to Australia continued in ever more trying circumstances.
"We have lost a wonderful Australian.
"In coming days the Government will discuss with her family an appropriate way to recognise Hazel's contribution to public life."
Former Victorian premier Joan Kirner says Hazel Hawke was a remarkable person.
"We always knew it was going to happen but we dreaded it because Hazel is a Labor hero," Mrs Kirner said.
"I think she's a community hero because of her clear values, her strength (and) her support for Bob through thick and thin."
You don't have to be famous to have an impact on others lives. Hazel Hawke was warm, funny, human and showed incredible grace when confronted by a publically unfaithful husband. She was definitely the real strength of the Hawke mystique but was never defined as simply being the wife of a prime minister. I didn't know her at all but I feel a real sense of sorrow and loss for a public person that I actually esteemed.Sue Cassell Friday 24 May, 2013 - 6:32 PM
What is she famous for? Being the ex-wife of Bob Hawke. That's it! Why is the media making such a big deal? Is this going to happen everytime an ex-wife of a PM dies?sad but so what?! Friday 24 May, 2013 - 12:40 PM
A legend of the workers for the workers.RIP Hazel........Gazza Thursday 23 May, 2013 - 10:52 PM
A strong and talented woman I admired her views.mandy Thursday 23 May, 2013 - 9:24 PM
Hazel Hawke was such a lady, well respected and loved & will be greatly missed.
She truly was a gr8 Australian.Joybells Thursday 23 May, 2013 - 8:25 PM
A truly beautiful wonderful woman , so sad ,Anita Elkington Thursday 23 May, 2013 - 8:08 PM