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Former Victorian Premier John Cain Dies At 88 After Stroke

John Cain, Victoria's longest-serving Labor premier, died early on Monday after suffering a severe stroke aged 88.

Cain, the state's 41st premier, led Victoria between April 1982 and August 1990, when he resigned the Labor leadership. His demise, following a period of unrest and controversy about his leadership, paved the way for Joan Kirner to become the state's first female premier.

He entered state parliament in 1976, representing the seat of Bundoora until his eventual retirement in 1992.

In a statement, Cain's family said he suffered a severe stroke at home on December 10, and was taken to hospital, where he died.

“We are grateful John enjoyed good health and remained very active prior to his stroke,” his family said.

"He is much loved and admired by his family and will be greatly missed."

Cain is survived by wife Nancye, and his children Joanne, John and James. The family said a private funeral will be arranged in coming days.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said Cain "transformed Labor into a party that not only represented the interests of working people – but could deliver as well."

"John’s legacy will continue to live on in the modern Victoria he so proudly helped to build," Andrews said, confirming a state memorial service would be held in the new year to honour Cain's contribution to public life.

Former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten called Cain "a kind man who helped modernise Victorian Labor", while current leader Anthony Albanese called him "a great man who changed Victoria forever".

"Throughout his eight years as Premier it was clear he was there for a reason. His Government lead ground breaking social reform, including recognising Aboriginal land rights," Albanese said.

Other former Victorian premiers also paid tribute to Cain. 10 News First's Simon Love reported Steve Bracks calling Cain "a great person" and Denis Napthine describing him as "the king of parliament".

Other federal and state politicians also shared condolences and tributes to Cain on Monday as news of his death broke.

Cain's father, also named John, was also a premier of the state in three separate stints in the 1940s and 50s. The elder Cain, Victoria's 34th premier, held office for just four days in 1943; a later election win saw him as premier between November 1945 and November 1947; while his final stint as premier was the longest, between December 1952 and June 1955.

When the younger Cain became premier in 1982, it was the first Labor government since his father's in 1955.

More to come.