The politician was the country's 22nd leader, who spent eight years in office from 1975 to 1983.

Fraser died "peacefully" early on Friday morning (20Mar15).

An official statement reads: "We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him, but ask that the family be left in peace at this difficult time."

Born in 1930, Fraser studied at Oxford University in England. He became Prime Minister after his predecessor, Gough Whitlam, was fired from office by Australia's Governor-General.

Prior to becoming the nation's leader, Fraser served as Army Minister and Education and Science Minister in the late-1960s. He was also Australia's Defence Minister from 1969 until 1971.

He retired from politics in 1983.