Famed satirist, actor and author John Clarke has died at the age of 68.
Media reports say Clarke was hiking in the Grampians National Park in Victoria yesterday when he died of a suspected heart attack.
Born in New Zealand the comedian and writer regularly appeared on Australian television from the late 1970s.
He is best know for his deadpan mock interviews he did alongside Bryan Dawe where he mercilessly parodied politicians and public figures.
Clarke also starred in a string of TV comedies including Kath And Kim, The Games, Stiff and The Brush Off. He also appeared and wrote for a number of Aussie films include Crackerjack and Death In Brunswick.
He was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame in 2008 and his Logie was presented to him by long-time collaborator and friend Dawe.
The ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie, said: “Australian audiences have relied on John Clarke for always getting to the heart of how many Australians felt about the politics of the day and tearing down the hypocrisy and at times absurdity of elements of our national debate.
“We have lost a giant presence on our screens. Our hearts go to John’s family, his wife Helen and two daughters, Lorin and Lucia.”
Channel Nine’s director of news and current affairs Darren Wicks issued this statement on behalf of the network: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of John Clarke today. John along with his partner in satire Bryan Dawe entertained audiences on A Current Affair between 1989 to 1997, in the days of Mike Willesee and Jana Wendt hosting the program. Our sincere condolences go to his family at this time, John was truly one of the most memorable and much loved people on Australian television and at Nine we will remember him fondly, his commentary and wit on political matters will be missed greatly by audiences across the country.”