Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrat leader, dies in Scotland aged 55
Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has died at his home in Fort William aged 55.
Police Scotland said there were no suspicious circumstances involved. The cause of death is yet to be confirmed
A statement on behalf of his family read:
It is with great sadness, and an enormous sense of shock, that we announce the death of Charles Kennedy.
Charles died at home in Fort William yesterday. He was 55. We are obviously devastated at the loss. Charles was a fine man, a talented politician and a loving father to his young son. We ask therefore that the privacy of his family is respected in the coming days.
Kennedy began his political career in 1983, winning the Ross, Cromarty and Skye seat to become the youngest MP of the time at the age of 23.
In 1999 he took over from Paddy Ashdown as the leader of the Liberal Democrats, a position he held until 2006. During his leadership he delivered the party's best General Election performance in 80 years winning 62 seats with 22 per cent of the vote.
Former leader Nick Clegg said Kennedy was one of the "most gifted politicians of his generation" who "devoted his life to public service" while Ashdown said he brought "principle and decency" to politics.
Charles Kennedy was one of the most gifted politicians of a generation, he always spoke with great humour, humility and courage.
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) June 2, 2015
Charles Kennedy. In a political age not overburdened with gaiety and good sense, he brought us wit, charm, judgement, principle and decency
— Paddy Ashdown (@paddyashdown) June 2, 2015
I am utterly heartbroken about the news of Charles' passing. He was a colleague, friend and mentor. We've lost a giant today.
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) June 2, 2015