Australian High Commissioner in South Africa dies

The Australian High Commissioner to South Africa Graeme Wilson has died. (AAP)

Australia's High Commissioner in South Africa Graeme Wilson has died suddenly after an unexpected illness.

Australia's High Commissioner to South Africa Graeme Wilson has died after a short illness.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop extended sincere condolences to Mr Wilson's wife, Lisa and children, Laura, Andrew and Matthew.

Ms Bishop said Mr Wilson, 60, who died on Tuesday, was a dedicated professional who worked for 31 years to advance Australia's foreign, trade and development interests around the world.

He also played 14 VFL games for South Melbourne from 1974-76.

"It is terribly sad to have valued professionals like Graeme depart prematurely and at the height of their careers," she said in a statement.

"Graeme's impact on Australia's national interests will continue to make a difference for many years to come."

Mr Wilson had been in South Africa since last year.

He served as special co-ordinator to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) from 2009 to 2011, ambassador to Mexico and consul-general to Noumea in New Caledonia.

"Graeme's firm belief that sport broke down cultural and other barriers led him to combine both his passions - sport and diplomacy - in creative initiatives in all his postings," the minister said.

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