Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy dies aged 55


Police say there are no suspicious circumstances

FORMER Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has died aged 55, his family has confirmed.

Kennedy died at his home in Fort William, and police said there were no suspicious circumstances. The cause of death has not been released.

He led the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2006, taking over the role from Paddy Ashdown. In the 2005 General Election the Lib Dems won 62 seats, its best result in decades.

However, less than a year later, Kennedy stepped down from his role as leader because of a problem with alcohol, which he was being treated for.

In the years after, Kennedy remained a popular political figure and featured regularly as a public commentator.

But following deepening party unpopularity after the Lib Dem coalition with the Conservatives in 2010, Kennedy lost his Westminster seat for Ross, Skye and Lochaber in the recent UK General Election in May, along with all but one Lib Dem MP in Scotland.

Kennedy’s family spoke of their devastation at losing a “fine man and loving father”.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police officers attended an address at Fort William on Monday, June 1 to reports of the sudden death of a 55-year-old man. Police were notified by ambulance service personnel. There are no suspicious circumstances.”

Politicians, journalists and members of the public paid tribute to Kennedy on Twitter.

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

Charles Kennedy was one of the most gifted politicians of a generation, he always spoke with great humour, humility and courage.

— Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) June 2, 2015

Sad beyond words to hear the news about Charlie Kennedy. A lovely man and one of the most talented politicians of his time. Gone too soon.

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 2, 2015

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

— John Prescott (@johnprescott) June 2, 2015

Such awful news to wake up to, feel deeply sad. My thoughts & prayers with Charles Kennedy’s friends, family & Lib Dem colleagues

— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) June 2, 2015

Politics has just lost one of its most principled and best advocates. Very sorry to hear Charles Kennedy has passed away

— Kezia Dugdale (@kdugdalemsp) June 2, 2015

Charles Kennedy was so clearly one of the most decent and well liked people in politics. Such sad news.

— Patrick Harvie (@patrickharvie) June 2, 2015

Desperately sad about Charles Kennedy. I knew him well when a pol ed. Important post war politician. & properly nice. Also funny

— Robert Peston (@Peston) June 2, 2015

Utterly shocked at death of Charles Kennedy. A politician with a personal touch for everyone. So young, too: just 55. #RIPCharles

— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) June 2, 2015

Charles Kennedy was a kind man, a good dad and a substantial political leader. We will all miss him. Hope his family are given privacy.

— tom_watson (@tom_watson) June 2, 2015

So so saddened about Charles Kennedy. Remember him for courageously opposing Blair’s catastrophic Iraq war. In real life, warm and charming.

— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) June 2, 2015

Very sorry to hear that Charles Kennedy has died. A decent man, even if I disagreed on many points. And much too young.

— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) June 2, 2015

Absolutely awful news about Charles Kennedy. A clever, open and generous man, gone far, far too soon. Scotland is poorer for his passing.

— Duncan Hothersall (@dhothersall) June 2, 2015

Saddened to hear the news of the death of Charles Kennedy. A political opponent who had great charm and humour. #RIP

— bill (@kingbill73) June 2, 2015

RIP Charles Kennedy, aged 55. The former Lib Dem leader one of the cleverest, most engaging politicians of his era. Tragic

— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) June 2, 2015

Saddened to hear of sudden death of former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy. One MP people really warmed too, and spoke sense too. RIP.

— Maxine Gordon (@MaxineYGordon) June 2, 2015

Charles Kennedy was a great politician and he represented all that was best about the Liberals.

— Chris Denton (@severusd) June 2, 2015

Picture courtesy of Liberal Democrats