Tony Abbott & # 39; s wife Margaret has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The 61-year-old missed a huge farewell stroke for her husband on Thursday evening because she was recovering from a lumpectomy in the hospital, a procedure to remove breast tissue.
At dinner attended by 1,000 in the grand ballroom of Miramare Gardens on the northern beaches of Sydney, Abbott said his 31-year-old wife would beat the disease.
Tony Abbott & # 39; s wife Margaret (pictured together with daughters Frances and Bridget in 2013) has been diagnosed with breast cancer
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is embraced by his mother Fay Abbott during dinner on Thursday evening
& # 39; I think all of you are rightly anxious, but I just wanted you to know she was 100 miles within two days of being diagnosed, "said Mr. Abbott.
& # 39; She's a tough woman and she will get through this. & # 39;
The mother of three Mrs. Abbott, who runs a non-profit childcare center in St Ives, Sydney in September, revealed that her grandmother had died of breast cancer.
She said she only found out shortly when she was researching her family history and the discovery led her to do an investigation.
Mr. and Mrs. Abbott during a dinner in 2015
During the gala, with Alan Jones as MC, Mr. Abbott fired a farewell shot at his critics, saying that he was not praised enough when he led the country.
& # 39; I always thought the Abbott government was a remarkably undervalued government & he said.
& # 39; The great thing tonight is that I finally think it can be seen for what it really was – a good faith attempt to help our country be the best it could be. & # 39;
The former prime minister lost his Warringah seat to independent MP Zali Steggall in the federal elections in May.
& # 39; What a night. I keep thinking: what if I really won? & # 39 ;, Mr. Abbott joked after taking the podium.
Guests included current and former prime ministers Scott Morrison and John Howard, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and federal frontbenchers Josh Frydenberg, Peter Dutton and Angus Taylor.
Howard said that Mr. Abbott & # 39; a big political winner & # 39; was who & # 39; effectively destroyed the Labor government in three years & # 39 ;.
He paid tribute to his border protection work and the warmth he brought to issues such as indigenous policy.
& # 39; Tony and I didn't always agree on some issues, but you always knew that Tony & # 39; s heart lay in what he embraced and what he believed in & # 39 ;, Howard said.
The former prime minister told the crowd that they are essentially & # 39; a servant of our nation & # 39; & # 39; has lived his life for others & # 39 ;.
Mr. Morrison opened his speech with & # 39; how good is Tony Abbott? & # 39 ;, before telling the crowd: & # 39; don't be too quiet tonight, quiet Australians & # 39 ;.
He said in his time as Prime Minister that Mr. Abbott laid the foundation for the government, scraping carbon and mining taxes and at & # 39; one of his most beautiful moments & # 39; brought back the Australians who were killed in the downing of MH17.
Scott Morrison pays tribute to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the Miramare Gardens in Sydney
Dutton meanwhile said that Mr. Abbott & # 39; one of the most intelligent people in the life of our nation & # 39; used to be.
Abbott took the opportunity to pay tribute to his loved ones and former colleagues, including Mr. Morrison, who, according to him, had relieved the government with his & # 39; almost miraculous & # 39; election victory.
& # 39; If we had lost these elections, this government would have been judged to be a shameful failure & # 39 ;, said Mr. Abbott.
& # 39; So I may have started – but frankly, Scott, you made it.
& # 39; And for that, I don't normally support myself at Malcolm Turnbull, but Malcolm Turnbull and I both owe you a huge debt. & # 39;
Former Prime Minister John Howard speaks tribute dinner for Mr. Abbott
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