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Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy dies

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Former Liberal Democrat leader and MP of 32 years Charles Kennedy has died at his home at the age of 55.

No cause of death has been announced, but police said it was not suspicious, the BBC reports.

Kennedy became the youngest MP in the country when he was elected to the Ross, Cromarty and Skye seat as a Social Democrat in 1983 at the age of 23.

The Liberal Democrats were formed in 1988 and he took over the leadership from Paddy Ashdown in 1999, leading the party to its best election result in 2005, winning 62 seats.

In January 2006 Kennedy revealed he had been receiving treatment for alcohol problems and resigned as leader.

He lost his seat in this year’s general election.

A Liberal Democrat statement says: “Charles was one of the greatest politicians of his generation, devoting his life to public service, having been elected as a Highlands MP at the age of 23. He was well known for his wit and charm when speaking, which touched many people beyond the world of politics.

“He led the Liberal Democrats to our party’s greatest electoral successes and showed immense courage when standing up against injustice, most notably when his spoke for the country agains the invasion of Iraq.”

His successor, former leader Nick Clegg, says: “He always remained modest about his huge achievements. Whenever I asked him for advice, he was unfailingly kind and wise. 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. My heart goes out to his sister and brother and to Sarah and Donald at this tragic time.”

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