Liberal, Carlton elder, Elliott dies at 79

Former Liberal Party president, Carlton AFL club president and businessman John Elliott has died.
Former Liberal Party president, Carlton AFL club president and businessman John Elliott has died.

Businessman John Elliott, who was a Liberal party elder and the longest-serving president of Carlton Football Club, has died in hospital aged 79.

His son Tom Elliott told Melbourne radio 3AW his father "had taken his last breath" on Thursday.

"He had been ill for a few weeks," Tom said.

"It is very sad news for us and my brothers and sisters and all the members of my family."

Mr Elliott was to turn 80 in 10 days.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Elliott was a "forthright man who said what he meant and meant what he said".

"He lived a big life. It was an authentic Australian life," he said on Friday from the United States.

"Big lives always have their critics, make their fair share of mistakes, but mostly, there is something about them that capture their times. Such people are leaders. John Elliott was such a leader."

Melbourne-born Mr Elliott is understood to have been hospitalised after a recent fall.

In a statement, Carlton noted Mr Elliott's passing with sadness.

"He led the Blues through a record 20-year presidency, with the larger-than-life figure overseeing a significant period of on-and-off field success throughout his tenure," the club said.

Tom acknowledged his father's commitment to the Blues.

"Apart from his family, Carlton was the great love of his life."

Once touted as a potential prime minister, Mr Elliott served as federal Liberal treasurer and president from the 1980s.

His business career included the acquisition of multi-million dollar companies, most notably Foster's beer giant Carlton and United Breweries.

"He took Foster's to the world," Mr Morrison said.

After a change in fortune, Mr Elliott declared himself bankrupt in 2005. When the bankruptcy was lifted, he maintained a public profile, including speaking engagements.

Mr Elliott was a father to four: Tom, Caroline, Edward and Alexandra. He was a grandfather to six.

Australian Associated Press