Sir Nicholas Shehadie a 'great Australian'

Julia Carlisle
Former Sydney lord mayor and ex-Wallabies captain Sir Nicholas Shehadie (centre) has died, aged 92

A state funeral has been offered to the family of Sir Nicholas Shehadie, the husband of former NSW governor Dame Marie Bashir, who has died aged 92.

The former Sydney lord mayor and ex-Wallabies captain was remembered on Monday as "a truly great Australian" following his death in hospital on Sunday night.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sir Nicholas "contributed a lot to the state across public life, media and sport" and would be deeply missed.

"Above all else, Sir Nicholas was an inspiring, caring and compassionate person and was held in such high affection by so many across the State and nation, including myself," Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.

The premier said a state funeral has been offered to his family.

Sir Nicholas held several distinguished positions including chairman of SBS, chairman of the NSW Rugby Union and chairman of TAFE and the Migrant Employment and Qualification Board.

He was appointed a knight bachelor in 1976 for his service as Sydney's lord mayor between 1973 and 1975.

He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1971 and made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990 for his service to sport, media and the community.

During his sporting career, he played more than 100 matches for Australia, including tours of Great Britain, South Africa and New Zealand.

He was president of the Australian Rugby Union from 1980 to 1987 and was instrumental to the establishment of the Rugby World Cup.

He was also chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust from 1990 to 2001.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley also paid tribute to Sir Nicholas on Monday.

"Australian rugby captain...Sydney Lord Mayor...SBS chairman...husband to the Governor of NSW Dame Marie Bashir. Sir Nicholas Shehadie was a truly great Australian. May he rest in peace," Mr Foley posted on Twitter.

Sir Nicholas is survived by Dame Marie and their three children.