Senator Kitching suffered a suspected heart attack in Melbourne yesterday, with shattered colleagues paying tribute to the “fierce” politician who served the Senate from 2016 after filling the seat vacated by Stephen Conroy’s retirement.
Close friend and former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten revealed he and his wife Chloe had waited with Senator Kitching’s husband Andrew Landeryou for the undertaker to arrive after her death.
“I got a dreadful call from her husband saying she was gone,” Mr Shorten told Today.
“So we raced over to this street in Strathmore where she pulled up in the car, where she experienced a heart attack and we waited with her husband until the undertaker’s car came, which was terrible.
“She was a fierce and warm person.
“You know politicians think something, but what annoys people is politicians don’t actually say what they really think sometimes – she wasn’t cut from that cloth.”
Mr Shorten praised Senator Kitching’s fierce advocacy for anti-corruption laws and her human rights work.
“There’s an old saying, you know, who would you want in a fox hole with you when the bullets were flying?” Mr Shorten said.
“And everyone always wanted her in the fox hole. She was tough.”
At the time of her death, the former lawyer was the chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese was among those to pay tribute last night.
“The Labor family is in shock tonight at the tragic news that our friend and colleague Senator Kimberley Kitching has died suddenly in Melbourne,” Mr Albanese wrote on Twitter.
“My sincere condolences to her family.
“Kimberley will be missed by us all.”