Bob Hawke changed Australia for the better during his lifetime, and his legacy appears set to be carried on by Labor colleagues after this weekend's election.
A flood of emotional memories from around Australia were shared in tribute to the 89-year-old, who died in Sydney on Thursday night.
"It's a great outpouring of love and it's been very, very sustaining and energetic," his widow Blanche d'Alpuget told reporters on Friday
"I think it's wonderful for Australia to remember that love is what you need."
Bill Shorten aims to be just the fourth Labor leader to win power from opposition since World War II. Mr Hawke was the second.
"He was my inspiration, then he became my friend," Mr Shorten said outside the Sydney Opera House where Mr Hawke launched campaigns in the 1980s.
"He wasn't just my hero or Labor's hero. He was a nation's hero."
Polls show Labor is on track for victory on Saturday, as Mr Shorten campaigns on a reform agenda aimed at re-shaping Australia in the way Mr Hawke did in the 1980s.
"Blanche said that nothing would make Bob happier than Labor forming a government tomorrow night," Mr Shorten said after visiting her on Friday morning.
Long-time political rival John Howard said Mr Hawke was an "outstanding" leader who made significant reforms to Australia.
"He's the greatest prime minister of Australia produced by the Labor Party," Mr Howard told reporters.
A powerful union leader before he entered parliament, Mr Hawke reshaped the Australian economy and the relationship between business and labour.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO James Pearson described him as a "giant of industrial relations".
"The man has gone but his legacy endures," he said in a statement.
But that commitment to changing Australia wasn't easy on his children.
"In the normal sense of parenting, he wouldn't rate highly, but in some of the less normal senses of parenting, I think he was a fabulous and inspiring dad," daughter Sue Pieters-Hawke told ABC radio.
The nurturing aspects of parenting were left to Hazel, his late first wife who bore him four children.
"He was enormously pleased and relieved our mother was such an extraordinary parent because he had deficits on that front," Ms Pieters-Hawke said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Hawke made Australia stronger.
"It was his ability to connect with everyday Australians with a word, with that larrikin wit, with that connection and an understanding of everyday Australian life that we will most remember Bob Hawke," Mr Morrison said.
And world leaders have joined the tributes, with former British prime minister Tony Blair admiring Mr Hawke's "marvellous strategic political mind" and first class intellect while being "wonderful and warm company."
He made the Guinness Book of Records for downing a yard glass while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and in his later years indulged fans at the cricket by knocking back drinks.
But he gave up the drink in politics and proudly boasted he "didn't touch a drop" while in parliament.
The former ACTU leader rose through union and Labor ranks and won the party four elections, with Hazel by his side.
But in 1991 his treasurer Paul Keating replaced him as leader, his marriage hit the rocks, and eventually he and Hazel divorced. He married his biographer Ms d'Alpuget in 1995.
Mr Hawke's family will hold a private funeral. A national memorial service will be held in Sydney in coming weeks.
Australian Associated Press