Queensland Supreme Court judge Peter Dutney has died of a suspected heart attack while bike-riding on an outback holiday.
Dutney, 54, was set to commence as the inaugural president of the new Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in December.
The Australian Associated Press reported he died while riding along the Stuart Highway, near the mining town of Coober Pedy in South Australia on Friday night.
High profile cases Justice Dutney presided over in the Supreme Court included the imprisonment of Robert Paul Long over the Childers backpacker hostel fire in 2000 and Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley's acquittal over the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in a Palm Island watchhouse.
Dutney graduated from the University of Queensland and started his legal career in 1975 as an article clerk for Brisbane law firm Morris Fletcher and Cross. He was admitted to the bar in 1979 and appointed as Queen's Counsel in 1990.
President of the Bar Association of Queensland said he would be hard to replace, reported The Australian.
"It's an enormous loss for the court, the Bar and all the people who will have to come before the Supreme Court. He was terribly fit and full of life," he said.
"He was an outstanding judge who always gave people a fair trial and a fair hearing and he will be very difficult to replace."