File photo taken on April 1, 2012 shows former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke (Front) playing golf during the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) "New Fortune Cup" Golf Invitational 2012 in Boao, south China's Hainan Province. Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke died at his Sydney residence on Thursday, aged 89. (Xinhua/Hou Jiansen)
SYDNEY, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke died at his Sydney residence on Thursday, aged 89.
A Labor Party politician, Hawke served as prime minister from 1983 to 1991 and is credited for the introduction of Medicare, as well as a range of other transformative modern policies.
"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 on Thursday night.
"Bob Hawke and Paul Keating and their governments modernized the Australian economy, paving the way for an unprecedented period of recession-free economic growth and job creation."
With the news coming just two days ahead of the nation's federal election, current Labor leader Bill Shorten described Hawke as one of the party's "greatest sons."
"The Labor Party gives thanks for the life of our longest-serving prime minister and Australians everywhere remember and honor a man who gave so much to the country and people he cared for so deeply," he said.
"The Australian people loved Bob Hawke because they knew Bob loved them, this was true to the very end."
"He was a leader of conviction, and a builder of consensus. But for Bob, consensus and co-operation never meant pursuing the lowest common denominator."
While Hawke had many great achievements as prime minister, he was also admired for the love of beer, which once earned him a world record.
In 1954, Hawke held the Guinness World Record for drinking 2.5 pints of beer in just 11 seconds.
A state funeral in Sydney is expected to be announced in the following days.