Bob Hawke's touching letter to little girl after grandma's death

As millions of Australians look back fondly with memories of Bob Hawke, widely regarded as one of the nation’s finest prime ministers, a Sydney woman has shared a touching letter she received in 1985 from the then prime minister.

The 34-year-old letter from Bob Hawke to a young Tracey Corbin was in response to her question asking why death happens.

Then a young girl, Ms Corbin wrote to the Labor prime minister in 1985 after struggling to deal with the death of her grandmother.

Mr Hawke wrote back in July that year saying her question about why we all die was "very hard to answer".

"Some people die because of unfortunate accidents, sometimes because they become so ill that doctors are unable to help them recover," he said, according to a copy of the letter posted on Twitter in the hours after Mr Hawke's death on Thursday.

"Perhaps when we grow very old our bodies get worn out, or certain parts break down, like parts in an old car.

Bob Hawke with then US President Ronald Reagan a year after he sent the letter in 1986. Source: AAP
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke died on Thursday at the age of 89. Source: AAP

"None of us can be sure of how long we will live. Because this is so I think you should try not to think too much about dying, but think about all the nice things around you that make life so precious to us all."

The girl, now known as Tracey Corbin-Matchett, said his letter to her is "my most treasured childhood memory".

The post was trending strongly on multiple social media platforms on Friday with nearly 6000 likes on Twitter.

“How precious to remember a time when you felt like the prime minister was a leader you could ask for answers... and that he met that challenge is unspeakably telling of his nature as a statesman,” one response on the site read.

“That he took time out to reply speaks volumes of the man,” another wrote.

With AAP

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