Friends, colleagues, and political rivals have paid their respects to former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, after his sudden death at the age of 55.

Kennedy led the Lib Dems for more than six years, including its best election result in 2005, but lost his seat at last month’s election to a rival from the SNP.

He resigned as party leader in 2006 after admitting that he had been receiving treatment for alcoholism.

He died at his home in Fort William on Monday.

No cause of death has been given, but the police said they were not treating his death as suspicious.

In a statement, his family said:

“It is with great sadness, and an enormous sense of shock, that we announce the death of Charles Kennedy.

“We are obviously devastated at the loss. Charles was a fine man, a talented politician, and a loving father to his young son.”

Nick Clegg, who replaced Kennedy as leader of the Lib Dems said:

“Charles devoted his life to public service, yet he had an unusual gift for speaking about politics with humour and humility which touched people well beyond the world of politics.

“He was one of the most gentle and unflappable politicians I have ever known, yet he was immensely courageous too not least when he spoke for the country against the invasion of Iraq.”

John Prescott commented:

“So sad to hear of Charles Kennedy’s passing. He proved to be right on Iraq. History will be as kind to him as he was to others. A great loss”

Interim Labour leader Harriet Harmon said:

“Deeply progressive, a delightful person, with a great intellect. Hugely likeable, Charles Kenedy such a loss.”

Prime Minister David Cameron added:

“I’m deeply saddened by the death of Charles Kennedy. He was a talented politician who has died too young. My thoughts are with his family.”

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1 Comment

  1. Terence Hale on

    Hi,
    “Tributes paid to former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy”. Sad the SNP and bottle of whisky killed him.