Lady Mary Fairfax has died aged 95, passing away peacefully at her waterfront property in Sydney on Sunday night.
The Polish-born wife of influential news proprietor Sir Warwick Oswald Fairfax was known for her philanthropic efforts, having been appointed as an Officer of Order of the British Empire in 1976 and as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1988.
The couple had three children, Warwick Fairfax, known as young Warwick, Anna Cleary and Charles Fairfax.
She also had a son, Garth Symonds, from her first marriage to Sydney lawyer Cedric Symonds in 1945.
In recognition of her service to medical research and healthcare, Fairfax was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2005, Fairfax reported.
On her 80th birthday in 2002, she made $1 million worth of donations -- with $750,000 given to the St Vincent's Foundation and a further $250,000 to the Garvan Foundation to help fund research into hearing problems.
In a statement, her family said that "her health has been deteriorating significantly recently".
"We ask that the media respect the emotionally difficult time we are now facing. Funeral details will be announced in due course. We have no further comment at this time."
Her life was once described by David Leser as "one of the great Australian dramas of our time, a highly charged epic", spanning three decades "of a newspaper family's -- and a nation's -- life."