The global chair of Baker McKenzie has passed away, the law firm has confirmed.
Paul Rawlinson died unexpectedly on Friday, Baker McKenzie said.
He had stepped back from his role temporarily last October due to exhaustion.
“It is with great sadness that we mark the unexpected passing of Paul Rawlinson, the firm’s global chair, on Friday, April 12, 2019,” Baker McKenzie said in a statement.
“The firm’s thoughts are with Paul's wife Alison and their two children, whom the firm will be helping through these very difficult times.
“Our thoughts also go out to the very many friends at Baker McKenzie and outside the firm that worked with and admired Paul. For all of us Paul was a visionary, a true leader and a good friend. He will be greatly missed.”
“The firm will be providing counselling to those in the Baker McKenzie family who would like to talk to a professional adviser,” a spokesperson added.
Acting global chair Jaime Trujillo, who was appointed as acting global chair after Rawlinson stepped down last year, will continue in the role while Baker McKenzie seeks a new person for the position.
Manchester-born Rawlinson had served as global chair since 2016, before which was managing partner of Baker McKenzie's London office, the firm's largest, for three years between 2013 and 2016.
He was Baker McKenzie's first British global chair, winning a contested election to take the role.
Previous chairs include International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde who led the firm from 1999 to 2004.
Rawlinson led the firm's global intellectual property practice from 2004 to 2010 where his clients included L'Oreal, Cisco, HP and British American Tobacco.
Baker McKenzie was one of the first law firms to establish a global presence and is one of the largest firms in the world by both revenue and lawyer numbers.
In 2018 the firm's revenue was $2.9bn (£2.2bn).
It had a total headcount of 13,200 in 2018, with 1,549 partners and 6,188 fee earners in 78 offices and 46 countries across the globe.