Lindy Chamberlain: Michael's Death A Shock
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton is rushing to be with her children after the unexpected death of her former husband Michael Chamberlain.
Mr Chamberlain, 72, died in Gosford Hospital in NSW on Monday from complications from leukaemia.
"I am on my way today to support and be with our children," Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton said in a statement.
"Given Michael's death was unexpected, I would ask that the media please consider that Michael's wife and all of his children are deeply grieving and need some space."
Lindy Chamberlain and her former husband were thrust into the spotlight in 1980 when their baby daughter Azaria vanished during a family holiday to Uluru.
Michael and Lindy Chamberlain leave a courthouse in Alice Springs in 1982
Despite protests that a dingo took Azaria, Lindy was jailed in 1982 after she was found guilty of murder while Michael was given a suspended sentence for being an accessory.
They were pardoned in 1986 after new evidence emerged.
NT Police Deputy Commissioner Kate Vanderlaan said there was no doubt the various inquests and trials Mr Chamberlain endured highlighted shortcomings within the force and had an impact on his life.
"There's no denying that the NT Police were criticised for some things they did during that trial. We always learn and we've made improvements in our forensic procedures. We've come a long way since 1980," she said on Tuesday.
"There's a lot of water under the bridge. The apologies have been given, people have admitted mistakes, and there's no point now going back over that. "It's a sad occasion on Mr Chamberlain's passing but there's no point re-apologising."
The Chamberlains had three other children - Aidan, Reagan and Kahlia - and divorced in 1991.
Lindy and Michael Chamberlain with eldest son Aiden Leigh, second son Reagan Michael and daughter Kahlia Shonell Nikari who was born while Lindy was in custody of Darwin Prison.
Mr Chamberlain, a former Seventh-day Adventist pastor, went on to marry Ingrid Bergner four years later and the couple have a daughter, Zahra.
Last Thursday, Mr Chamberlain's wife took to Facebook to ask for prayers for her husband after he was taken to hospital by his daughter.
"Everyone please pray for Michael, he suffered a lot of pain last night and Zahra took him to hospital, your prayers would be appreciated," she posted.
Her husband had some fluid on the lungs and trouble with his bone marrow, she added later. Mr Chamberlain had become a carer for his wife after she suffered a debilitating stroke.
Zahra wrote on Facebook last week that her mother had been given full-time care after her father went into hospital.
There's been an outpouring of grief since news of the death broke.
Ingrid's daughter Winny posted a heartfelt tribute to Mr Chamberlain on her Facebook page.
"RIP to the man who stood up and became my Father when I was 15 ... I will miss you so so much Michael ... til we meet again."
Greg Piper, an independent NSW MP who had been friends with Mr Chamberlain since the early 1990s, has meanwhile remembered him as a dedicated family and community man.
"Beyond all the highs and lows of the Azaria mystery which we know about, Michael was a good community leader and a good friend to many people. "Michael was a very complicated man who was quite driven and very thoughtful."
Mr Piper said the tragedy of Azaria's disappearance would have broken a lesser person than Mr Chamberlain.
"Michael never hid from the notoriety which came with the disappearance of Azaria, but he rarely spoke about it to me and he didn't let it define him.
"He defined himself as a good community leader who worked hard for his community and family."
Pastor Justin Lawman, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in northern NSW, said he was shocked and saddened.
"I had the pleasure of working with him in connection with a number of projects and appreciated his insight and passion," Pastor Lawman said.
"Michael was a real advocate for the rights of the local people."
"He will be deeply missed."