Renowned satirist John Clarke dead at 68

One of Australia's best-known satirists, John Clarke, has died at the age of 68. 

An ABC spokesman has confirmed John Clarke passed away Sunday while hiking in the Grampians National Park in Victoria. He died from natural causes. ​

The New Zealand-born comedian and writer regularly appeared on Australian television from the late 1970s onwards, starring in everything from Kath and Kim to The Lano and Woodly Show.

Along with Bryan Dawe, he wrote and performed satirical interviews on Channel Nine's A Current Affair and later the ABC's 7.30 program, mocking everyone from Paul Keating to George Bush.

Clarke was also a prolific writer, publishing numerous books in his lifetime - including A Dagg at My Table, The Howard Miracle and The 7.56 Report. 

He was walking along a track near Mt Abrupt around 11am on Sunday when he collapsed.

Tributes began to flow for the comedy legend on Monday morning, with comedian Wil Anderson describing him as "still the funniest satirist on TV". 

The early days

Born in Palmerston North, he studied at Victoria University before heading to London, where he gained a break through with a part in the 1972 Barry Humphries comedy The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.

Clarke came home a year later, and was in the cast of New Zealand's first sitcom, the student-flat comedy Buck House.

By then, Clarke had already pioneered his iconic character Fred Dagg in short TV sketches and a Country Calendar 'spoof' edition.

Dagg's instant success turned into TV specials and a short film, Dagg Day Afternoon (which Clarke made with Goodbye Pork Pie director Geoff Murphy), a nationwide tour, books, and even singles - most famously, We Don't Know How Lucky We Are. Fred Dagg's Greatest Hits remains one of New Zealand's best selling albums.

Clarke moved to Australia in 1977, and soon made an impact, particularly in a series of satirical interview slots with Australian writer Bryan Dawe which mocked major Australian politicians.

In his later career, Clarke worked as a writer and script editor on major Australian cinematic works, including The Man Who Sued God (2000) and Crackerjack (2002). 

He was also behind The Games, a series which mocked the Sydney Olympics organising committee.

Clarke's company Huntaway Films, formed with Sam Neill, delivered TV movies based on the Murray Whelan novels written by Shane Maloney about a political spin doctor turned MP played by David Wenham.

How do you chose a favourite?

Clarke and Dawe - Brexit 13/7/2017
Clarke and Dawe - The Government You Ordered Has Been Delayed 7/7/2016
Clarke and Dawe - On Asylum Seekers 8/7/2010
Clarke and Dawe - The Front Fell Off: 26/07/1991