Charles Kennedy dead: Nick Clegg says death of former Lib Dem leader 'robs Britain of one of the most gifted politicians' in tributes

Harriet Harman, Nigel Farage and Paddy Ashdown also paid tribute

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The Independent Online

Nick Clegg led tributes to the late Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader who died in his home in Fort William aged.

Clegg branded said his death “robs Britain of one of the most gifted politicians”.

“Charles devoted his life to public service, yet he had an unusual gift for speaking about politics with humour and humility which touched people well beyond the world of politics,” he said.

Former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik told Sky News he had been concerned about Kennedy following his defeat in May.

“I have to say that Charles Kennedy's heart was probably too big for this world,” he said. “It was inevitable that this was going to happen.”

Harriet Harman, Nigel Farage and George Galloway were also among those who paid tribute on Twitter.

Kennedy’s death is not believed to be suspicious, although his cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

“It is with great sadness, and an enormous sense of shock, that we announce the death of Charles Kennedy,” a statement from the family read.

“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.

“There will be a post-mortem and we will issue a further statement when funeral arrangements are made.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland said “there are no suspicious circumstances”.

Kennedy lost his seat in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency in the May General Election to Ian Blackford of the SNP.

His last tweet was the following, sent on 9 May after his defeat: