A former hotel colleague and friend of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has died at the age of 77, leaving a widow with his ashes.
The former chief executive of a Melbourne-based hotel chain has been named as Peter O’Neil.
Mr O’Neill was known for his work in the hospitality industry and the hotel industry in particular.
He was also known for a long relationship with Mr Abbott.
“He was a true gentleman,” Mr Abbott said.
Peter O’Nicol, 77, died in the Sydney suburb of Sydney on Thursday.
Police have not said whether he died from a heart attack or from a drug overdose.
O’Neil was a friend of Mr Abbott and former Prime Ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd.
His wife Mary Anne said Mr O’Neal was a “really good friend of Tony Abbott”.
“They had a long and healthy relationship and he was a big fan of Tony and was always there for him,” she said.
“He had a huge sense of humour.
He was a great person.
I miss him.”
Mr Abbott was one of Mr O.N.
Neill’s closest confidants and said he was “very much missed” by the Liberal Party.
Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) December 20, 2019 Mr Howard called him a “friend and colleague” and said the former PM was “a great friend”.
Mr Rudd said he knew him as a “gentleman” and a “great man”.
A statement from the ABC read: “The family of Peter ONeil, former chief operating officer of Hotel Vivant, has confirmed the death of the man who was known to be an important member of the Abbott Government.
On behalf of the family, Tony Abbott commends Peter O.
Neil’s commitment to the hospitality and hospitality services industry and to our community.
A memorial service will be held in his memory on Wednesday, November 25, 2019, at 10am in the Peter O.’
Neill Funeral Home in Melbourne’s north.