Former NSW premier Neville Wran dies, aged 87: photos

Long-time NSW premier Neville Wran has died after a long illness, aged 87.

His wife Jill Hickson said that Mr Wran died just before 6pm on Sunday evening.

Ms Hickson was with him and all his family close by.

Mr Wran has been suffering from dementia and has been under special care for the past two years.

Read Malcolm Turnbull's tribute to Neville Wran

''This is of course a very sad time for us all, but in fact a blessed release for Neville," Ms Hickson said.

"Dementia is a cruel fate and I have been grieving the loss that comes with it for some years. But I hope now, especially this political climate, people will join me in celebrating the life of a great man, a true political hero."

She paid special tribute the nursing staff of Lulworth House who had been caring for the former premier.

"They really are angels," she said.

Mr Wran led the Labor government in NSW from May 1976 to July 1986.

He was a successful lawyer before entering parliament in the Legislative Council in 1970. He moved to the lower house in 1973 and becoming Labor leader.

In 1976, he led Labor to government in a tight election, forming government after a 10-day wait, with the support of an independent.

On July 4, 1986, Mr Wran announced his resignation to a shocked Labor conference.

Only fellow Labor premier Bob Carr was to surpass his record for the longest continuous service as NSW premier.

Mr Wran and his government were involved in damaging scandals.

In 1983, he stepped aside while a royal commission examined allegations he'd tried to influence a magistrate over a misappropriation hearing against rugby league boss Kevin Humphreys. He was cleared.

Prisons Minister Rex Jackson was jailed for selling early releases and Chief Magistrate Murray Farquhar was jailed for perverting the course of justice. Senior police were caught up in corruption scandals.

Mr Wran himself was fined $25,000 for contempt of court after declaring his belief in the innocence of his old friend Lionel Murphy, the High Court judge facing a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

After politics, Mr Wran had success in the business world, including running a merchant bank with Malcolm Turnbull, now Communications Minister in Tony Abbott's cabinet.

Mr Wran was married twice. First to Marcia Oliver, whose son he adopted before they had two more children, and then to Ms Hickson, with whom he had two children. AAP

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