Bill Shorten says Australia has lost a legend with the passing of former prime minister Gough Whitlam.

The Labor Party has lost a giant and Australia has lost a legend with the death of Gough Whitlam, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.

The former prime minister has died aged 98.

“The Labor Party has lost a giant,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“I think it is fair to say regardless of one’s politics the nation has lost a legend.”

Mr Whitlam was like no other prime minister before or since.

“Gough Whitlam redefined our country and in doing so he changed the lives of a generation.

“His vision, his ambition, offered Australia a new sense of what it might be.

“Our country is different because of him.”

There will be millions of Australians who feel his loss and will mourn his passing in the days to come, Mr Shorten said.