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Socialite Lady Susan Renouf dies

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/07/2016

Prominent Australian socialite and "loving mother" Lady Susan Renouf has died in Melbourne.

Her daughter, Ann Peacock, shared the news to Instagram on Friday morning with a black and white throwback photograph of herself, her two sisters and their mother.

"Happy Birthday Mummy, we love you sooooo much, rest now in peace," the photo's caption reads.

It's believed Friday would have been her 74th birthday despite reports she was 76.

Lady Renouf had been receiving palliative care after being diagnosed with acute kidney failure, and had battled terminal ovarian cancer since January 2013.

Born Susan Rossiter and raised in Melbourne's beachside suburb of Brighton, she was a regular in the social pages since the 1960s and graced the cover of The Australian Women's Weekly on more than one occasion.

She became one of Australia's best-known political wives from her marriage to prominent Liberal politician Andrew Peacock in 1963. The pair had three daughters - Ann Peacock, Caroline Cordeaux and Jane Chapple-Hyam - before they divorced in 1977.

She married British gambling millionaire and racing identity Robert Sangster in 1978, and was handed the Melbourne Cup in 1980 after Beldale Ball was the first horse to cross the line in the race that stops the nation.

In an Australian Story feature on the ABC last year, Lady Renouf said the first Tuesday in November remained one of her favourite days on the social calendar.

"It's been in my life for so long and with so many wonderful memories, especially winning it and also being surrounded by friends," she said.

Prominent members of the racing community have taken to social media to grieve her death.

"Vale Lady Susan Renouf who passed away this morning aged 74. Much loved by all and passionate racing fan, condolences to her family," renowned race caller Bryan Martin OAM posted to Twitter on Friday.

After her second divorce, she remained a flamboyant stalwart of the racing scene and acquired the title of Lady Renouf in 1985 from her short marriage to New Zealand businessman Sir Frank Renouf.

In a February interview with the Seven Network's The Morning Show, Ms Peacock said despite three failed marriages and a cancer diagnosis, her mother still had "the strength of an ox".

"She is an absolutely brilliant, kind, loving, generous mother," Ms Peacock said.

"Having a mum like mum and being brought up in the family that I have, my soul is all about my family, so the strength is there."

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