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Charles Kennedy: Tributes for policitian who has died aged 55

June 2, 2015
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Liberal Democrat politician Charles Kennedy has been found dead at his home in Scotland, aged 55, weeks after losing his seat in the General Election and the death of his father. He leaves behind a ten-year-old son named Donald, whose mother is his ex-wife Sarah.

charles kennedy 1 © Photo: PA

Charles Kennedy became an MP in 1983

A worried friend alerted police after going to the former party leader's Highland cottage in Fort William. He had been an MP for 32 years, bursting onto the political scene aged just 23 in 1983. Unfortunately, he battled for years against alcoholism, stepping down as leader of the Liberal Democrats in 2006 after admitting to receiving treatment for the problem.

On Tuesday, David Cameron said: "I'm deeply saddened by the death of Charles Kennedy. He was a talented politician who has died too young. My thoughts are with his family."

charles kennedy 2 © Photo: PA

He married wife Sarah in 2002

Nick Clegg described him as "one of the most gifted politicians" of a generation. He added: "He led the Liberal Democrats to our party's greatest electoral successes, yet he always remained modest about his huge achievements

"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."

charles kennedy 3 © Photo: Rex

The couple had one son named Donald but divorced in 2010

His friend former Labour aide Alistair Campbell said he was "shell-shocked and saddened" by the death. Despite being opponents, the pair remained close and spoke often about politics and their shared struggle with alcohol.

He wrote on his blog: "A day before the election I got a text saying … 'There is always hope … health remains fine.' Health remains fine – this was a little private code we had, which meant we were not drinking.

"A week later, health still fine, we chatted about the elections, and he did sound pretty accepting of what had happened. He was a very good friend. I just wish that we, his friends, had been able to help him more, and that he was still with us today.

"I think of all the memories, that is how and where I will remember Charles, with Sarah and Donald up in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, enjoying each other’s company, enjoying ours as we enjoyed theirs, and being able to talk one minute the future of Europe or the Union, the next where to find the best fish or live local music."

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