March 19, 2015 / 11:34 PM / 3 years ago

Former Australian leader Malcolm Fraser dead at 84

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Former conservative Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who led the country from 1975 to 1983, has died, his office said in a statement on Friday.

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser arrives at a memorial service in honour of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at Sydney's Town Hall in this November 5, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Reed/Files

Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of Friday morning after a brief illness, the statement said without elaborating.

“We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him,” the statement said.

His death comes five months after his predecessor and former Labor opponent, Gough Whitlam, died.

(This story has been refiled to remove extraneous characters from headline)

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Paul Tait

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