RESPECTED artist and architect Rex Bramleigh passed away on Monday evening at St John of God Hospital.
Mr Bramleigh was 90 and died in his sleep after complications with cancer.
He was runner-up for the Archibald Prize in 1959 and works of his hang in the Long Room at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Bendigo architect Brad Hooper has known Mr Bramleigh since 1973 when he studied architecture under him at RMIT University.
The first painting Mr Hooper ever bought was one by Mr Bramleigh.
"I loved his work, his work is beautiful," Mr Hooper said.
"He was a wonderful mentor. He guided lots of students through to successful and fruitful careers.
"He’s one of those sorts of characters that left an indelible image and he’ll be sadly missed."
Mr Hooper has a number of Mr Bramleigh's artworks hanging on his walls at home, though he never told the artist he had bought them.
"I bought them quite without his knowledge because he would have hit the roof otherwise."
He said his teacher was "very self-effacing" about his success in the art world and would not have wanted a friend to pay for his paintings.
Mr Hooper said Mr Bramleigh was "quite adept" in a variety of artistic materials, such as pastels and oils.
Mr Bramleigh moved to Bendigo about a decade ago and "quickly amassed a loyal group of friends".
Mr Hooper had not seen Mr Bramleigh in years until they rekindled their friendship in Bendigo.
"He was a much loved member of the community," Mr Hooper said.
"He was painting until he lost his eyesight not so long ago."
He said his friend's passing was "not unexpected".
"I’m told he passed peacefully, he was asleep at the time."
Mr Hooper said Mr Bramleigh had a son in Adelaide and a son in Thailand and that they were on their way (to Bendigo for the funeral).