Labour backbencher David Taylor has died after suffering a heart attack, it was announced today.
The North West Leicestershire MP was walking with his family on Boxing Day when he was taken ill.
A statement on Mr Taylor's website said: "David was enjoying a walk with his family at Calke Abbey when he suffered a massive heart attack.
"He was rushed to Queens Hospital, Burton on Trent but they were unable to save him. His widow Pam has paid tribute to the efforts of the ambulance and hospital staff."
The 63-year-old had already announced he was standing down from the Commons at the next general election.
Mr Taylor had been MP for Leicester North West since 1997, having previously worked as an accountant on the county council.
The father-of-four was a keen cyclist, runner and cricketer, and is not thought to have suffered serious heart problems in the past.
He was known as an independently minded MP, who was serving as a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
Mr Taylor had been highly rated in tables of the MPs providing best value for their constituents, based on their work in parliament and expenses claimed.
However, he was recently criticised by the Daily Telegraph for allegedly allowing one of his daughters to live in a taxpayer-funded flat at cut-price rent.
Gordon Brown praised Mr Taylor as "one of the most hard working MPs locally and nationally - a great representative who felt and spoke up for the needs of his constituents".
"When I visited his constituency a few weeks ago I found enormous respect and admiration for what he has achieved as a local member of parliament," the Prime Minister said in a statement.
"He was voted backbencher of the year in 2007 for his indefatigable campaigning, constant attendance in the Commons and his independence of mind - no greater tribute can be made to David's lasting legacy as a local champion for North West Leicestershire.
"David's contribution will be sorely missed by his friends, colleagues and constituents.
"Sarah and I are thinking today of his wife, Pamela, their four daughters and their wider family."
Ex-Labour MP Tam Dalyell, a former Father of the House of Commons, said in a tribute: "David Taylor was one of the most independent-minded and at the same time serious back-benchers, who put pertinent questions, even if they were unpalatable, to ministers.
"He was exactly what the ideal Commons back-bencher ought to be."Reuse content