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Bill Shorten cried on morning radio as he paid tribute to Labor senator Kimberley Kitching who died of a suspected heart attack at 52 on Thursday.  

The former Labor leader said Senator Kitching was under ‘great stress’ in the face of a move to kick her out of the party. 

The Victorian senator was from the Right of Labor and faced a tough preselection fight for a winnable spot on the senate ticket for the upcoming election.

‘She was under great stress. Preselection is never easy,’ close friend Mr Shorten told ABC Radio National in an emotional interview.

‘I’m not a coroner. I can’t tell you why this woman at 52 was taken from us but I have no doubt that the stress of politics and the machinations in the back rooms had its toll.

‘She’s a very strong person. She could give as good as she could get. But you take all that home with you.’ 

During her maiden speech to parliament, Senator Kitching spoke about her hope to represent everyday Australian people. Pictured with former opposition leader Bill Shorten

During her maiden speech to parliament, Senator Kitching spoke about her hope to represent everyday Australian people. Pictured with former opposition leader Bill Shorten

During her maiden speech to parliament, Senator Kitching spoke about her hope to represent everyday Australian people. Pictured with former opposition leader Bill Shorten

Mr Shorten was audibly emotional in the interview, with his voice breaking up several times.

He added: ‘It wasn’t clear what was going to happen to her ongoing role in politics and it’s stressful.

‘There were machinations and arguments going on.

‘We have a woman who’s 52 who’s pulled over by the side of the road and died unexpectedly. That’s shocking an terrible.’

Mr Shorten said he got a call from Senator Kitching’s husband yesterday afternoon to say that she had passed.

He and wife Chloe rushed to a suburban street in Strathmore, Melbourne – where Senator Kitching had pulled over on the side of the road while having a heart attack at the wheel – and waited for the undertakers’ van to arrive. 

Mr Shorten also discussed the move to kick her out of the party on the Today show.

‘I have no doubt that some of the stress of politics, the machinations behind the scenes, some of the attacks you get – even from within your own ranks… contributed to her early passing. It’s terrible,’ he said.

Senator Kitching held doubts about Anthony Albanese’s leadership. She was also a fierce China critic who teamed up with Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie and James Paterson to form an anti-Beijing club called the Wolverines. 

He death has shocked politicians from all parties and sparked touching tributes from Scott Morrison, Barnaby Joyce and Pauline Hanson. 

On Thursday night Mr Albanese gave a heartfelt response to Senator Kitching’s tragic passing, saying: ‘The Labor family is in shock tonight at the tragic news that our friend and colleague Senator has died suddenly in Melbourne.

‘My sincere condolences to her family. Kimberley will be missed by us all.’

The former lawyer, policy adviser, Melbourne City councillor and union official was elected to Parliament in 2016

The former lawyer, policy adviser, Melbourne City councillor and union official was elected to Parliament in 2016

The former lawyer, policy adviser, Melbourne City councillor and union official was elected to Parliament in 2016

Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has died of a suspected heart attack

Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has died of a suspected heart attack

Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has died of a suspected heart attack

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews wrote: ‘Terrible news tonight about Senator Kimberley Kitching. My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also shared a few words.

‘Deeply saddened at the news Victorian Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching passed away suddenly today, aged just 52,’ he said. 

‘Our deepest condolences go to her family, friends and colleagues.’ 

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce referred to Senator Kitching as a ‘dear friend’ in his response to the news. 

‘I am deeply, genuinely and so terribly upset to hear the tragic news about a dear person and dear friend, Senator Kimberley Kitching.’

‘She was a beautiful woman and this is a tragic loss. ‘I know she is with our Lord, and I offer my sincerest and deepest condolences to her family,’ he added. 

Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced Kitching's tragic passing on Twitter

Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced Kitching's tragic passing on Twitter

Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced Kitching’s tragic passing on Twitter

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews wrote: 'Terrible news tonight about Senator Kimberley Kitching. My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.' Pictured with Labor Senator Kristina Keneally

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews wrote: 'Terrible news tonight about Senator Kimberley Kitching. My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.' Pictured with Labor Senator Kristina Keneally

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews wrote: ‘Terrible news tonight about Senator Kimberley Kitching. My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.’ Pictured with Labor Senator Kristina Keneally

Prime Minster Scott Morrison said he was 'deeply saddened' to hear about Senator Kitching's passing, while Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce referred to her as a 'dear friend' in his response

Prime Minster Scott Morrison said he was 'deeply saddened' to hear about Senator Kitching's passing, while Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce referred to her as a 'dear friend' in his response

Prime Minster Scott Morrison said he was ‘deeply saddened’ to hear about Senator Kitching’s passing, while Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce referred to her as a ‘dear friend’ in his response

The former lawyer, policy adviser, Melbourne City councillor and union official was elected to Parliament in 2016. 

During her maiden speech to parliament, Senator Kitching spoke about her hope to represent everyday Australian people.

‘As a former Queenslander who grew up swimming, a proud holder of a bronze medallion, who continues to enjoy swimming in Victoria’s chillier waters, I am daunted yet delighted to be thrown in the deep end right here and now,’ she said.

‘I am mindful and deeply humbled that only 591 Australians have ever served in the Senate,’ she said.

‘I am mindful that so much that is great about this nation comes from rising to meet challenges.’

She made a bid for Labor pre-selection for two electorates in the 2013 Australian federal election but was unsuccessful. Pictured with Dean Jones

She made a bid for Labor pre-selection for two electorates in the 2013 Australian federal election but was unsuccessful. Pictured with Dean Jones

She made a bid for Labor pre-selection for two electorates in the 2013 Australian federal election but was unsuccessful. Pictured with Dean Jones

In 2016, Senator Kitching won pre-selection to fill Stephen Conroy's seat following his resignation

In 2016, Senator Kitching won pre-selection to fill Stephen Conroy's seat following his resignation

In 2016, Senator Kitching won pre-selection to fill Stephen Conroy’s seat following his resignation

Senator Kitching was born in Brisbane in 1970 and moved to Melbourne in 1995.

She made a bid for Labor pre-selection for two electorates in the 2013 Australian federal election but was unsuccessful.

In 2016, Senator Kitching won pre-selection to fill Stephen Conroy’s seat following his resignation.

She served in the Victorian Senate from 2016 until her death. She leaves behind her husband Andrew Landeryou.

Kimberley Kitching (pictured seond right) and Anthony Albanese (pictured left) are pictured with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and other Labor collegues in 2018

Kimberley Kitching (pictured seond right) and Anthony Albanese (pictured left) are pictured with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and other Labor collegues in 2018

Kimberley Kitching (pictured seond right) and Anthony Albanese (pictured left) are pictured with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and other Labor collegues in 2018

Kimberley Kitching (left) and her husband Andrew Landeryou are seen during her swearing in at a joint sitting of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne

Kimberley Kitching (left) and her husband Andrew Landeryou are seen during her swearing in at a joint sitting of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne

Kimberley Kitching (left) and her husband Andrew Landeryou are seen during her swearing in at a joint sitting of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne

Kimberley Kitching and Bill Shorten are pictured at an event

Kimberley Kitching and Bill Shorten are pictured at an event

Kimberley Kitching and Bill Shorten are pictured at an event

Source: DailyMail

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