Federal Liberal MP Don Randall was found dead in his auto in Boddington, a town southeast of Perth, on Tuesday afternoon.
“The death is being investigated by WA Police and there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances at this stage”. He is survived by his wife Julie and two children.
He represented the electorate of Canning, Western Australia, since his election to the House of Representatives in 2001.
Randall, 62, a colourful and often outspoken parliamentarian, entered the House of Representatives with the Howard government in 1996, in the seat of Swan.
Paramedics attended but he could not be revived.
UPDATE: Sky News Australia reports it could be due to a heart attack.
Mr Randall and his wife Julie had two children, Tess and Elliott.
“Don was an outstanding local member. He was a passionate and persuasive advocate in Canberra and a hardworking community leader in Western Australia”, the PM said.
“Don made a fine contribution to the Howard Government and particularly to the Coalition during our years in opposition”.
“He was a mentor to many and integral to the success of our party in the state of Western Australia”, Mr Abbott said in a statement.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also offered his condolences to Mr Randall’s family. Don was a thoroughly good and decent bloke, ‘ Mr Shorten tweeted.
Mr Abbott said he was shocked and saddened to learn of Mr Randall’s death.
Federal politicians began expressing their grief on Twitter on Tuesday evening.
Absolutely shocked and devastated to hear about Don Randall. A very good man. My heartfelt condolences to family, friends and colleagues, ‘ Treasurer Joe Hockey said.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne tweeted: ‘A good friend and colleague. I will miss him. “West Australian through and through, Don was rightly proud of his fierce advocacy for his state and the people of Canning”, he said.
Liberal MP Bob Baldwin said he couldn’t believe his “very close mate” had died.
The MP was not without controversy during his political career.
The backbencher was also part of an attempt in early 2015 to oust Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, having co-signed a letter to Mr Abbott from disaffected MPs.
The social conservative was one of six Liberal parliamentarians who boycotted then prime minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generations, referring to it as a “wallpaper” that would not improve conditions for Indigenous Australians.
Mr Randall was previously chairman of the joint standing committee on migration, and at the time of his death, was a member of the standing committees on procedure and selection, and the joint standing committee on defence, foreign affairs and trade.
Mr Randall came under fire for billing taxpayers more than 00 to fly business class from Perth to Cairns with his wife, which included a visit to an investment property.
Mr Randall repaid the cost of the trips after the issue was raised publicly, but denied it was the reason for his trip.
Born in in rural Merredin in 1953, he worked as a teacher, local councillor, horse trainer and consultant before entering Parliament.
He was elected as the member for Canning in 2001 and re-elected in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013.