Australians are paying tribute to epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws who became a guiding voice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor McLaws died on August 12 aged 70 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in early 2022. The UNSW professor and advisor to the World Health Organisation became a household name during COVID-19 as a key figure providing expert advice through the media. Professor McLaws was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2022 for "distinguished service to medical research, particularly to epidemiology and infection prevention, to tertiary education and to health administration". Professor McLaws said at the time it had been a privilege to assist Australians during the pandemic. IN OTHER NEWS: UNSW Sydney recognised her 36 years of service at an event in December 2022 attended by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. "You spoke truth, you took on the pandemic of disinformation, you helped keep us safe; for that we owe you so much," Mr Turnbull said. Health Minister Mark Butler reacted to the "sad news" during an ABC radio interview on August 14. "Hers was an incredibly calm, articulate voice at a time that was very frightening to Australians," Mr Butler said. "But it was only a small part of a lifelong career she gave in epidemiology and infectious diseases, particularly in NSW in areas like HIV and viral hepatitis. "I'm sure her colleagues will miss her terribly. But most importantly, her family and friends will be desperately sad at this news over the weekend." Many have paid tribute to the late professor on social media, including members of the media who sought her expertise to make some sense of the pandemic to their audience. ABC News Breakfast co-host Michael Rowland said her "calm, considered advice" was always well received as she "helped guide Australia through the heights of the COVID pandemic". Journalist and author Peter FitzSimons said Professor McLaws was a "great Australian". "A fine figure of medicine and particularly epidemiology - who helped the country get through COVID, by sharing her knowledge and wisdom." The Guardian journalist Josh Taylor said Professor McLaws had always been generous in helping reporters who hadn't covered epidemiology before. VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio described her as a "generous and kind leader" who had helped countless Australians through the pandemic's "darkest times".