(CNN)Bob Hawke, one of Australia's longest-serving Prime Ministers and a champion of the trade union movement, has died peacefully at the age of 89.
Bob Hawke, former Australian prime minister, dead at 89
Known affectionately by his nickname, "Hawkie" was Australia's prime minister between 1983 and 1991, winning four elections and becoming the country's third longest-tenured leader.
His policies reshaped Australian society, while his vibrant character and sense of humor made him one of the nation's most-admired figures.
His wife, Blanche D'Alpuget, released a statement on Thursday describing her husband as "the greatest Australian of the post-war era."
"Bob Hawke and Paul Keating and their governments modernised the Australian economy, paving the way for an unprecedented period of recession-free economic growth and job creation," her statement said.
A Rhodes scholar who graduated from Oxford University in 1956, Hawke quickly rose through the ranks of Australia's trade union movement to become the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in 1970, according to the Museum of Australian Democracy.
In 1983, after serving in parliament for just three years, he became Australia's Prime Minister in a landslide election victory.