Australian sprinter Betty Cuthbert, the only athlete to have won the Olympic 100m, 200m and 400 m titles, has died aged 79 after battling multiple sclerosis for almost half a century, Athletics Australia said on Monday.
"It's very sad to lose such a great champion", Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said.
"Betty was an icon of Australian and global athletics and it is with great sadness that we learned of her passing this morning", stated Arbib.
"Betty was a legend of the sport and Team Australia extends our sympathies to her family and friends at this sad time", she said.
Cuthbert became known in Australia as the "golden girl" after she won three gold medals at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 when she was just 18 years old.
She went on to win gold in the 400m sprint eight years later at the Tokyo Olympics and was a torchbearer at the opening ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
Only in her thirties Betty was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that was still relatively unknown at that time.
Australian sporting legend Betty Cuthbert has passed away at the age of 79.
Cuthbert was an inaugural member of the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame and she was inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2012.
"She just needed to talk to a fatherly figure and that cemented a huge friendship that has continued right through between us".
"She loved her nation".
Cuthbert ended the Games with golds in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, while Gosper pocketed a silver medal in the men's 4x400m.
Shorten, likewise, said Cuthbert would "forever be a golden girl".
"I'm so happy I got to meet such a tremendous and gracious role model".
Swimmer Ian Thorpe is the only Australian to claim more Olympic gold medals, with five.
Dual world champion 400m hurdler Jana Pittman described Cuthbert as Australia's best.
"Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote on social media on Monday. By her mid-fifties, she was confined to a wheelchair and said that said she felt as though a "dark cloud" had crossed her path.