“It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015,” a statement read.
“We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him, but ask that the family be left in peace at this difficult time.”
Mr Fraser was sworn in as caretaker prime minister in 1975 after the Whitlam government was dismissed. He led the Liberals to victory in the 1975 election before losing the 1983 election to Labor’s Bob Hawke.
Despite Fraser’s role in the 1975 “coup” against Gough Whitlam, the pair developed a close friendship post politics.
Recently Mr Fraser turned his attention to government criticisms of Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, writing that attacks on her had ‘diminished important work highlighting the worrying expansion of ministerial powers over asylum seekers’.
Labor senator Doug Cameron was shocked to hear of Mr Fraser’s death on Friday, having only recently met with the former prime minister and his wife Tamie.
“I am just devastated that Australia has lost a great voice for human rights,” Senator Cameron told reporters in Canberra.
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