She was much more than the ex-wife of the former Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
Mrs Hawke was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2001. She announced it publicly on the ABC series Australian Story in 2003 and gradually withdrew from public life.
Her daughter, Sue Pieters-Hawke, became an national campaigner for dementia awareness and in 2011 released the beautiful biography, Hazel: My Mother’s Story.
Her family issued a statement on Thursday night saying she passed away peacefully after succumbing to complications of the disease. Ms Gillard said she was so sad to learn of the death.
“Ordinary Australians saw the best of themselves in Hazel – many women of her generation will feel they have lost a friend,” she said in a statement.
“Her warmth and generosity of spirit in success were only matched by her courage and dignity in adversity.”
She said Mr Hawke’s achievements both with the union movement and in government would have been unthinkable without Hazel’s support.
“After her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease, Hazel’s life of service to Australia continued in ever more trying circumstances,” Ms Gillard said.
“We have lost a wonderful Australian.”
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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