It is with great sadness that we announce the death of former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy.
Charles was one of the greatest politicians of his generation, devoting his life to public service, having been elected as a Highlands MP at the age of 23. He was well known for his wit and charm when speaking, which touched many people beyond the world of politics.
He led the Liberal Democrats to our party's greatest electoral successes and showed immense courage when standing up against injustice, most notably when his spoke for the country against the invasion of Iraq.
Commenting on his death, Nick Clegg has said: "He always remained modest about his huge achievements. Whenever I asked him for advice, he was unfailingly kind and wise. Most of all, I will never forget the pride and love with which he would talk about his own family, most especially his devotion to his son Donald. My heart goes out to his sister and brother and to Sarah and Donald at this tragic time."
The Liberal Democrats, and many more outside the party, will never forget him.
Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, paid tribute to Charles Kennedy:
"With that cheeky smile, highland voice and a few simple words Charles Kennedy captured the political hearts of the nation. Charles had a unique combination of political talent and public affection. He had a healthy disdain for policy detail but had highly tuned political instincts.
"He was in his element on the campaign trail - stealing the show in a TV debate on independence, a joust with opponents in a public meeting in Portree or greeting people on streets of Dunfermline. His wise counsel and gentle encouragement is something I especially valued. I will miss him so much."
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, paid tribute to Charles Kennedy.
“We are all immensely sad to hear of this devastating news. You would struggle to meet a kinder man than Charles. He was a man who had time for everybody; a real people person and that made him stand out from all the rest. He will always be remembered for his warm personality and brilliant quick wit.
"Charles was a giant in our party. He was robust, sincere and passionate. Never will I be more proud of our party than when Charles us led from the front in our opposition to the Iraq war. This wasn’t a decision taken lightly, yet Charles was a man of principle and did what he knew was right. The party owes him a great gratitude for the position he took and the bravery he showed.
"Above all else, our thoughts go out to Charles’ family at this very difficult time.”