Respected health expert and former NHS policy chief Alasdair Liddell has died.
Mr Liddell, who was 63, suffered an aneurysm while visiting friends in Kintyre, Scotland, on New Year's Eve, his son Rob said today.
As the Department of Health's director of planning for six years from 1994, he saw through significant changes - including the launch of NHS Direct.
Before transferring to Whitehall, he was chief executive in a series of hospitals and health authorities.
Among his innovations was the "Rubber Windmill" series of market simulation exercises to test the NHS internal market system.
Awarded the CBE in 1997 for services to the NHS, he left the DoH in 2000 amid reported policy differences with ministers and went on to work for health charities including the King's Fund.
He was married to former BBC director of audio and music Dame Jenny Abramsky, who now chairs the Heritage Lottery Fund, and leaves two children.