It is with great sadness that we announce that former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, has passed away.
Paying tribute to Charles, Willie Rennie MSP said:
"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 the streets of Dunfermline.
"His wise counsel and gentle encouragement is something I especially valued. I will miss him so much."
Former Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) said:
“Charles Kennedy was a hugely gifted and principled man with a common touch.
“He was one of my oldest and closest friends in politics. We both entered the House of Commons on the same day in 1983, representing Highlands & Islands seats. I campaigned with him in the recent general election campaign.
“I have just so many memories of him, but what I will probably remember most were his instinctive humanity, his infectious good humour and his determined, even stubborn commitment to the principles and the values he believed in. Above all, he had a way of communicating his message in a down-to-earth human way which was second to none among his contemporaries.
"Much will be written and said about the key moments of his career; but my feelings today are profoundly personal. It’s about the loss his family are experiencing, and not least Donald, of whom Charles was intensely proud. It’s about the loss to our public life, as he still had much to contribute. It’s about the loss of a friend. But even in sadness, memories can’t help but bring a smile.
“It’ll be a long time before we see his like again.”
Former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen said:
“I am stunned by this terrible news. Nobody can quite believe it. Charles was very simply the most popular politician of his generation. He had always been a brilliant debater, but it was his ability to connect with local people - from all backgrounds and persuasions - that made him so well loved. He will be hugely missed. My thoughts are with all his family at this very sad time.”