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Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke Dies Aged 89

He entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds.

Bob Hawke, one of Australia’s longest-serving prime ministers, has died aged 89.

His wife and biographer, Blanche d’Alpuget said in a statement that he died “peacefully at home” on Thursday.

She added the nation had lost “a great Australian, many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era”.

Hawke led Australia from 1983 to 1991.

He is the country’s third-longest-serving prime minister and the longest for the Labor Party.

Only two other prime ministers served Australia longer, and both were members of the Liberal Party.

He had been actively supporting Labor’s campaign for elections on Saturday after six years in opposition.

He also said he doubted he would survive the Labor victory predicted in opinion polling.

Robert James Lee Hawke was born in the agricultural community of Bordertown, South Australia, to a minister father.

By the time he entered politics, Mr Hawke had abandoned his religious upbringing and declared himself agnostic.

His lifelong involvement with the labor movement began in 1958, when he joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions, first as a researcher and later as a union advocate.

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe was among those paying tribute to the former premier, noting, among other achievements, Mr Hawke’s penchant for downing pints of beer in one.

Crowe tweeted: “Bob Hawke has died. A great man who made this country confident. A great man who never lost his humility.

Guinness book of records 1954, 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Rhodes Scholar. Trade Union Leader. Prime Minister.

Statesman. Thanks for everything Mr Hawke.”

With files from the Associated Press

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