ANGLICAN Bishop of Gippsland John McIntyre died on Friday night at Monash Hospital, Clayton, at the age of 62, after losing his battle with a short respiratory illness.
He was the 11th bishop of the Gippsland Diocese, and known for his down-to-earth approach.
Bishop McIntyre was ordained a bishop on February 11, 2006, and was appointed as Bishop of Gippsland at St Paul's Cathedral in Sale on February 18 the same year.
Victoria Council of Churches executive officer Ian Smith said the Anglican community would mourn the passing of a beloved bishop, ecumenical companion, family man and friend.
"His work as both an Anglican minister and since 2006 as a bishop, has seen him build strong relationships with many sectors of the community, especially our indigenous brothers and sisters," he said.
"He has been a strong presence in the ecumenical world working closely with Victorian Council of Christian Education (serving as immediate past chair), Victorian Church Leaders Meetings (serving as immediate past chair) and the Victorian Council of Churches where he has contributed in many ways."
The Rev Smith said the Anglican Diocese of Gippsland would cherish the work of Bishop McIntyre and would pray for his family and friends.
"John will be missed by all who have come to know and appreciate his wisdom, spiritual insights and pastoral care," he said.
"At this time we hold his immediate family in our prayers as they mourn the loss of their husband and dad."
Archdeacon of St Matthew's Anglican Church, Albury, Peter Macleod-Miller, said Bishop McIntyre was a shining beacon for the whole community.
"He holds an unforgettable place in the lives of so many who would not normally enter a church building, but have been attracted by a message that is inclusive, liberating and personally costly," he said.
"To the people of Gippsland, and to his family we express our real sorrow, but also real gratitude for a life overflowing with justice, mercy, kindness and compassion and a good deal of fun."
Before his work in the Gippsland Diocese, Sydney-born Bishop McIntyre was the rector of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney South Sydney parish for 15 years.
He had developed a reputation as an alternative voice in the Anglican Church, often taking a stance against more conservative views.
This included supporting the ordination of women and rights for homosexuality within the church.
Funeral details for Bishop McIntyre are yet to be finalised.
He is survived by his wife Jan and three children, Jessica, Paul and Lisa, and parents Ken and Vicky.