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CARLTON'S longest-serving president John Elliott has died in a Melbourne hospital, 10 days shy of his 80th birthday.

His son Tom, a talk show host on radio station 3AW, confirmed the news on Thursday night.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of John Dorman Elliott. He died Thursday evening at the Epworth Hospital in Richmond after a short illness," he wrote in an email.

John Elliott looks on at Carlton training in 1999. Picture: AFL Photos

"Dad will be greatly missed by his four children Tom, Caroline, Edward and Alexandra. Their partners Elise, Craig and Georgia plus grandchildren Henry, Sebastian, India, Ava, Lottie and Mathilda will remember forever their 'Grandpa Jack'.

"Also mourning are John's brother Ross, sister-in-law Jenny, former partner Joanne and second wife Amanda. They are joined in grief by numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren and other close relatives. Vale Dad."

Elliott, who also served as federal president of the Liberal Party, suffered a fall at his home earlier this month.

He was a colourful and often polarising character throughout his 20-year presidency, overseeing two premierships in 1987 and 1995.

He resigned in 2002 after the club was charged by the AFL for illegal player payments and in a season in which the Blues finished with the wooden spoon.

John Elliott with David Rhys-Jones after the 1987 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Carlton President Luke Sayers acknowledged Elliott's reputation as a powerhouse both on and off the field.

"On behalf of the entire football club, including players, staff and administrators, we extend our deepest sympathies and offer our sincere condolences to the Elliott family," Sayers said.

"John passed away at age 79, just ten days short of his 80th birthday and he will always be remembered and respected as someone who gave his all to the Navy Blue. 

"Despite the challenges faced by the club throughout some of those tough years, John's passion and love for his club never wavered. We must remember the many achievements during his time at the club. The return of Walls and Parkin, and the premierships they subsequently won; the recruitment of Kernahan, Bradley and Williams; the pride in the jumper and the love of Prince Park.

"John remained a passionate Carlton man, right throughout his life. He never stopped wanting to see the Old Dark Navy Blues succeed."

John Elliott with Stephen Kernahan in 1993. Picture: AFL Photos

Former Carlton president Stephen Kernahan, who captained the club to the Grand Final triumphs of 1987 and 1995, also paid his respects.

"I'm truly in shock. I knew John was battling with his health, but I thought the great man would live forever," he said.

"He was a loved man and he was very good to Carlton people. He may have polarised a few, but whatever people thought of him there was no doubting his love for the Carlton Football Club."