Bob Hawke photos: A look back at the former PM's life

Former prime minister Bob Hawke has died, aged 89.

Mr Hawke was Labor's most successful federal leader, known as much for his larrikinism as he was his policies that helped modernise post-war Australia.

He frequently sculled beers, making the Guinness Book of Records for downing a yard glass while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and even in his later years would indulge fans at the cricket by knocking back drinks.

But he gave up the drink while prime minister and proudly boasted he "didn't touch a drop" while in the top job.

Mr Hawke led Labor to victory at the 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990 elections, and his government went on to establish Medcare and Landcare, floated the Australian dollar and is credited, along with Paul Keating, with modernising the Australian economy.

His wife Blanche d'Alpuget released a statement on Thursday night confirming he died peacefully at home on Thursday.

"Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian - many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era," she said.