Former Deputy PM Tim Fischer Has Died
Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has died from an acute form of leukaemia.
The 73 year old died at the Albury-Wodonga Cancer Centre, surrounded by close family and friends.
The father of two passed away on Wednesday night after a decade-long battle with cancer.
"After successfully battling three cancers since 2009, the fourth cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia eventually claimed his life, although he continued to contribute to his many passions and attend functions right until the day of his final hospitalisation," his family said in a statement.
The statement also acknowledged and thanked "the wonderful medical and nursing professionals" at the cancer centre.
Fischer, who became an MP at the age of 24, was Nationals leader from 1990-1999 and deputy prime minister in the Howard government from 1996-1999.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Fischer was "a big dear friend" who was big in stature, belief, vision and passion.
"Tim Fischer will forever cast a big shadow on our nation," he said in a tweet.
In his role as deputy PM, Fischer supported John Howard's gun control laws despite fierce resistance from many of the Nationals' regional and rural supporters.
Former prime minister John Howard always acknowledged the key role Fischer played in passing Australia’s historic gun laws following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
Fischer was a second lieutenant in the Australian army before entering the NSW Parliament in the early '70s. He quit politics in 2001.
His most recent public appearance occurred last month at Boree Creek, in the Riverina district of NSW, where he welcomed a reserve being renamed the Tim Fischer Community Park.
He is survived by wife Judy Brewer and sons Harrison and Dominic.