Former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam has died, aged 98.
His family confirmed the death in a statement this morning and say there will be a private cremation and a public memorial service.
Gough Whitlam was prime minister for less than three years.
A giant in stature, intellect and presence, he reformed the Labor Party, led it out of the wilderness and irrevocably changed the Australian political agenda. He had vision before the word became a cliche.
While he remains at the pinnacle of the Labor pantheon, much of what he did has been muddied by the myths and passions surrounding his fall.
Apart from the World War I conscription referendums, his dismissal by Governor-General Sir John Kerr and defeat at the subsequent election in 1975 was the most divisive event in Australian politics.
Edward Gough Whitlam, who died on Tuesday aged 98, was born on July 11 1916.
He had an unusual background for a Labor stalwart of his time.
His father Fred became Commonwealth Crown Solicitor and the classically educated young Gough grew up in Canberra.
At Sydney University he won a rowing blue, edited a student magazine, performed in skits and dallied with a concert violinist.
Edward St John, a university friend who became a Liberal MP, thought he was bright, knowledgeable and amusing, but doubted his leadership qualities.
Whitlam courted Margaret Dovey, an international swimmer and daughter of a future NSW Supreme Court judge. They married in 1942 and had three sons and a daughter.
Margaret, a strong and multi-talented personality, was to become almost as recognisable as her husband. When she died in March 2012 he described her as the love of his life.
Whitlam joined the World War II air force, becoming a flight lieutenant and bomber navigator.
He fell foul of military authorities for campaigning in his squadron for a Yes vote in a referendum to give the federal government stronger reconstruction powers. He remained a centrist all his life.
When the war ended Whitlam joined the Labor Party and completed a law degree.
He and Margaret set up home in Cronulla, a resort south of Sydney that was being suburbanised. That experience nourished his interest in urban development, which nearly 30 years later was to be a hallmark of his government.
At the same time he was making his mark in branch politics - an erudite, oratorical figure lecturing the working class on the constitution rather than confrontation.
In 1952 Whitlam won a by-election for the seat of Werriwa and went back to Canberra as an MP.
It became a difficult time for Labor under Bert Evatt, with the damaging Petrov affair and the split enmeshing it.
Whitlam avoided the bars and the factional hatreds. His colleagues watched in awe as he built up meticulous files on a host of issues.
They learnt that, with his targeted approach to electioneering, he was a vote winner.
Evatt resigned in 1960 and Arthur Calwell took over the leadership. Whitlam unexpectedly beat leftwing firebrand Eddie Ward to become deputy.
The new leadership combined the old and traditional with the young and modern and in 1961, in the midst of a credit squeeze, it failed by one seat to win government.
Although Labor went backwards in 1963, Calwell stayed on.
Whitlam's response was to savage the party's failure to develop and sell modern and relevant policies.
His biggest and riskiest battles were with the fossilised party machine, particularly the 36-member federal conference, the party's supreme policy-making body, and the hardline left-dominated Victorian branch.
The "36 faceless men" jibe about conference, which met secretly and excluded the parliamentary leadership, had been immensely damaging. And Victoria was a Labor desert.
Whitlam didn't get all he wanted, but did get conference and federal executive expanded to include the parliamentary leadership.
During his battles with the executive, largely over the politically damaging issue of state aid to non-government schools, he narrowly escaped expulsion.
After Calwell led Labor to another heavy defeat, Whitlam took over the leadership in early 1967, comfortably beating the left's Jim Cairns. His ally Lance Barnard became deputy.
He immediately created Australia's first shadow ministry.
When the executive refused to accept Tasmanian delegate Brian Harradine, who was suspected of links with BA Santamaria's National Civic Council, Whitlam blew up.
He accused the executive of wrecking his efforts to build a broad and tolerant party, resigned and recontested the leadership. It was close run, with Whitlam beating Cairns 38-32.
By the 1969 election the long Menzies reign was over, Harold Holt had come and disappeared and the Liberals were led by John Gorton. Labor picked up 17 seats, four short of government.
Victoria remained a black hole. In the face of furious threats, Whitlam helped engineer federal intervention which reformed the branch.
He was then able to oversee the development of the program, to be the most comprehensive set of policies ever presented in an election campaign.
He established parliamentary dominance over Gorton's successor, Billy McMahon.
"Tiberius on the telephone" was a typical Whitlam jibe - pithy, savage and classical.
For an opposition leader, Whitlam was remarkably influential in foreign affairs.
His 1971 visit to China, ferociously attacked by McMahon, was vindicated politically when President Nixon went to China shortly afterwards.
Whitlam made two stormy visits to Papua New Guinea, terrifying the conservative highlanders and white interests by declaring that Labor in government would force independence on Australia's only significant dependency.
He galvanised the fledgling nationalists and forced Gorton to review Canberra's somnolent attitude towards PNG's independence.
In The Whitlam government, he wrote: "If history were to obliterate the whole of my public career, save my contribution to the independence of a democratic PNG, I should rest content."
Whitlam's famous "It's Time" 1972 election campaign combined detailed policies on just about everything with California-style hoopla.
The December 2 election produced only a modest nine seat majority, but it was enough to bring Labor back to power after 23 years.
With doubtful seats delaying the caucus meeting necessary to elect a ministry, Whitlam couldn't wait and established his duumvirate - a 13-day government consisting of himself and Barnard.
In that frenetic period they made more than 50 decisions of startling diversity. They included withdrawing the last handful of Australian troops from Vietnam, ending conscription and freeing draft dodgers, starting talks on establishing diplomatic relations with China, releasing the film Portnoy's Complaint uncensored, removing a wine tax and reopening an equal pay case.
On December 18 caucus elected a 27-man ministry. Not one of them had ministerial experience and only three had been MPs under a federal Labor government.
The Whitlam government was marked by achievement, excess, lack of discipline and a crazy-brave determination to go for broke.
It was also unlucky for it always faced a Senate controlled by coalition forces.
Moreover, Labor came to power at the end of two decades of growth. No longer could a growing revenue base to fund ambitious projects be taken for granted. Whitlam himself took little interest in economics.
Yet the achievements were substantial.
Medibank, the precursor to Medicare, was set up despite a hostile Senate and savage opposition from doctors.
The long process of tariff reductions was started. Rural assistance was better targeted. Family law was reformed. Aboriginal affairs was given new emphasis, even if the money was not always well spent. The arts and the environment were elevated.
The commonwealth took over financial responsibility for a much-expanded tertiary education sector. Tertiary fees were abolished, a measure in which Whitlam took great pride, even though a future Labor government would reintroduce them.
Whitlam took the commonwealth into urban renewal and suburban and regional development. Sewerage came to many outer Sydney and Melbourne suburbs.
In international affairs the government took a more independent stance.
Yet controversies remain: particularly to what extent, if any, Whitlam encouraged Indonesia to take over East Timor.
There were escapades, or worse, starting with Attorney-General Lionel Murphy's infamous ASIO "raid".
There was the Gair Affair, a tricky manoeuvre in which former DLP leader Vince Gair was persuaded to leave the Senate in return for the ambassadorship in Ireland. The idea was that this would give Labor a better chance of gaining a 3-3 split in Queensland.
It was stymied by the trickier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. In what's gone down in folklore as the Night of the Long Prawns, Country Party politicians supposedly kept Gair from actually resigning by plying him with beer and prawns until the Queensland premier had issued writs for five Senate seats in his state.
Frustrated by a Senate that had rejected a record number of bills, Whitlam called a double dissolution in 1974 and was returned with a reduced majority. The government just failed to win the Senate. But it did have a string of bills passed at Australia's only joint sitting.
From then, it was mainly downhill.
When Murphy went to the High Court, the NSW Liberal government broke convention by replacing him with independent Cleaver Bunton.
Cyclone Tracy flattened Darwin when Whitlam was overseas. He flew back briefly, then returned to his Mediterranean sightseeing. That showed, his critics claimed, that he prefered ancient ruins in Greece to modern ones in Australia.
Whitlam fell out with minister after minister. He forced Speaker Jim Cope to resign and had public rows with Bob Hawke, who was ACTU and ALP president.
Cairns became treasurer and deputy leader, only to be embroiled in the Junie Morosi affair after he appointed the attractive young woman to a senior position in his office.
Most damaging was the Loans Affair. Minerals and Energy Minister Rex Connor, whose visions were as huge as Whitlam's, wanted to borrow $4 billion in petrodollars through funny-money operative Tirath Khemlani to finance his massive power projects.
Despite treasury opposition, the loan was approved in questionable circumstances by executive council.
The money never came through, the opposition and the media became increasingly critical and eventually Connor was sacked for misleading parliament.
All this was happening against a worsening economy, with inflation and unemployment rising.
The new Liberal leader, Malcolm Fraser, knew after the massive anti-Labor swing in the Bass by-election that he could now win an election.
The loans affair formed the basis for Fraser's "reprehensible circumstances" to justify his blocking supply in the Senate.
Yet it couldn't have happened, at least in the form it took, without Whitlam's old nemesis Bjelke-Petersen.
When Queensland Labor senator Bert Milliner died, Bjelke-Petersen rejected Labor's nominee and sent the unknown Albert Field, who promptly announced he'd vote against the government, to Canberra.
A High Court challenge stopped Field voting on the critical supply divisions, but it didn't matter.
Although Bunton and South Australian independent Steele Hall voted with the government, it gave the Fraser forces a one-vote majority on the motions not to proceed with the supply bill. On a tied vote, the motions would have lost.
Hall said it was done "over a dead man's corpse".
The supply crisis, a battle of wills between two utterly determined men, was resolved on November 11 1975 when Kerr sacked Whitlam and appointed Fraser as caretaker prime minister on condition supply was passed and an election called.
Whitlam made his famous "Kerr's cur" and "maintain your rage" speech on the steps of Parliament House. But in the following election, he was slaughtered.
In the furious arguments over the crisis, Whitlam was probably right on most points.
It was a political crisis, until Kerr made it a constitutional one; and a contest Whitlam probably would have won before the money ran out in mid-December, as there's now ample evidence that some Liberal senators had deep misgivings about Fraser's tactics.
Kerr, a Labor appointment, ignored Whitlam's advice not to seek the opinion of High Court Chief Justice Garfield Barwick, a former Liberal minister. Whitlam didn't know the GG was also consulting another High Court judge, Anthony Mason.
Nor did Kerr give Whitlam any hint that he was considering the action he took, an action that gave Fraser a political advantage.
The governor-general prematurely played the arbitrator when he should have been a conciliator, although to some extent Whitlam determined the timing of events by advising a half Senate election.
On the other hand, Whitlam - never a great people manager - handled Kerr badly. The governor-general had an ego nearly as big as the PM, yet Whitlam publicly treated him as a cypher.
Furthermore, a decision that handed the mess to the Australian voters to resolve couldn't be all bad.
Whitlam stayed on as Labor leader until the 1977 election, another heavy defeat. The magic was never recaptured.
Yet there was still a long, rich life ahead and he finally became Australia's longest lived prime minister.
Whitlam wrote extensively into his 80s, including a book about Italy, a great love.
Academic and national honours were showered on him. There were visiting professorships and seats on boards and councils, usually involving foreign relations.
The Hawke government sent him to Paris as ambassador to UNESCO. For Whitlam, this was a delicious symmetry, for Fraser had earlier offered the post to Kerr, then withdrawn it after a public outcry.
Whitlam never forgave Kerr. But in later years he and Fraser made common cause on issues as diverse as the republic, Aboriginal reconciliation and media ownership.
He remained a great Labor hero, who could always command a rapturous reception. He never stopped giving advice, even if it didn't always work out. His last protege was Mark Latham.
In 2007 he and Margaret became the first national life members of the ALP, an honour previously bestowed only at the state level.
Yet East Timor haunted him and in 2007 the 90-year-old had to give evidence at an inquest into the killing of five Australian newsmen at Balibo in 1975.
Whitlam's achievements were mixed.
He reformed Labor and showed it could be a party of government. He changed it from a party of working class struggle to one for the middle class. He understood the importance of the suburbs.
By the breadth of his interests - particularly in the arts and cultural diversity - he made Australia a richer place.
Future Labor governments benefited from Whitlam's achievements while learning from his mistakes.
They understood the importance of discipline and the centrality of economic management.
Menzies before and Fraser, Hawke and John Howard after all ruled for much longer.
But none so personally defined his era through the excitement and theatre he brought to politics, or through the power of his presence and the potency of his ideas.