Hazel Hawke is being remembered as a beautiful soul and a great Australian.

And Bob Hawke says he remembers his ex-wife with deep affection.

Hazel died yesterday, after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Vanessa Wolfe reports.


Across Australia, tributes have flowed in memory of Hazel Hawke, who died following a long battle with dementia.

She has been described as a compassionate, caring and intelligent woman who was brave and community spirited.

Bob Hawke, the longest serving Labor prime minister, remembered his ex-wife and Australia’s former first lady today.

Mr Hawke says “I remember Hazel with deep affection and gratitude.

“She was more than a wife and mother, being a father as well during my frequent absences as I pursued an industrial, then political career.”

Mr Hawke says Hazel will be greatly missed by their children.

Rosslyn Dillon, Daughter: “Mum, Dad, God, everything to us.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says ordinary Australians saw the best of themselves in Hazel Hawke.

And Opposition leader Tony Abbott praised her courage in raising the public’s awareness of dementia.

It was in 2003 when Hazel bravely revealed her battle with Alzheimer’s.

She continued to be a public advocate for the condition for many years.

Hazel Hawke: “Well, I wouldn’t have chosen to have Alzheimers.”

Hazel became a patron of more than forty organisations.

The family will hold a private funeral.

Details of a public memorial will be announced at a later date.

Hazel Hawke was 83.

Vanessa Wolfe, QUT News