Mary-Louise McLaws, Mosman resident and epidemiologist who helped guide Australians through the Covid-19 pandemic, has died aged 70 due to a long-term sickness.
The UNSW professor died in her sleep on Saturday night at Wolper Hospital in Woollahra, her family confirmed.
Mary-Louise McLaws with fellow infectious diseases experts Sanjaya Senanayake and Robert Booy at the National Press Club in February last year. Image: SMH/Alex Ellinghausen.
In a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, her husband Richard Flook said she had been “well cared for” by the nurses and doctors at the hospital, and “had enjoyed the visits of her many friends who have been so supportive of her and our family.”
“We will be planning her funeral service at Emmanuel Synagogue in the next few days,” he said.
A member of the World Health Organisation and an honorary advisory to the Clinical Excellence Commission, Professor McClaws became a household name during the pandemic as she advised Australian’s how to protect themselves from infection.
McLaws pictured at her Mosman home last year.
McLaws was a professor at the University of NSW of Public Health and Community Medicine.
She served as World Health Organisation (WHO) adviser to China and helped with infection-control research initiatives around the world.
She was also a member of the WHO Health Emergencies Program Experts Advisory Panel for Infection Prevention and Control Preparedness, Readiness and Response to COVID-19.
Mayor Carolyn Corrigan pictured with Professor McLaws in 2021.
In January 2022, McLaws told ABC Radio Melbourne that she had been diagnosed with brain cancer, which she believed was terminal.
“I assume that I will die, I don’t know when, and I’m just enjoying life and friends, and I think that’s what you have to do,” she said at the time.