Liberal Senator Jim Molan has died at the age of 72 after a sudden decline in his health.

Senator Molan suffered a “sudden and rapid” decline after Christmas before dying peacefully on Monday in the arms of his family.

“He was many things – a solider, a pilot, an author, a volunteer firefighter, and a senator. Most of all, he was an adored husband, father, grandfather, and brother,” his family said in a public statement on Tuesday.

“Our loss is immeasurable, but we are comforted in our memories of a full life courageously lived, devoted to family and in service of the country he loved.

“We thank you for your thoughts and prayers, and for respecting our privacy at this difficult time.”

Senator Molan, who represented NSW, was a major general in the army, under which he served for 40 years.

He was re-elected to the Senate at the 2022 federal election.