Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has died at the age of 84.

A statement says Mr Fraser died in the early hours of Friday after a short illness.

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015,” the statement from Mr Fraser’s office said.

“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.”

Mr Fraser served as prime minister from November 1975 until 1983.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said Mr Fraser contributed to building a better Australia.

“These events just indicate how in one way or another we all stand on the shoulders of those that were before us,” Mr Hockey said on Friday.

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“Right or wrong, many people have contributed to public life over a long period of time that have helped to build a better Australia and unquestionably he was one of them. So we pass on our condolences.”

AAP

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