The former chancellor and Labour party veteran Alistair Darling has died from cancer at the aged 70, a spokesperson for his family has announced.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer led tributes to the giant of British politics, who presided over the rescue of the UK’s banking sector during the global financial crisis of 2008.
Sir Keir mourned the “immeasurable loss” of the Labour grandee, who also sucessfully spearheaded the 2014 campaign for the unionist side which saw Scotland remain part of the UK.
A statement issued on behalf of the family said: “The death of Alistair Darling, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and long-serving member of the Labour cabinet, was announced in Edinburgh today.”
“Mr Darling, the much-loved husband of Margaret and beloved father of Calum and Anna, died after a short spell in Western General Hospital under the wonderful care of the cancer team.”
Sir Keir said he was “deeply saddened” by his death and said his heart goes out to his family “whom he loved so dearly”.
The Labour leader said: “He will be remembered as the chancellor whose calm expertise and honesty helped to guide Britain through the tumult of the global financial crisis.”
“He was a lifelong advocate for Scotland and the Scottish people and his greatest professional pride came from representing his constituents in Edinburgh,” Mr Starmer added.
Sir Keir said he was “incredibly fortunate” to have benefited from the veteran’s counsel over recent years. “He was always at hand to provide advice built on his decades of experience – always with his trademark wry, good humour.”
He added: “Alistair will be missed by all those whose lives he touched. His loss to the Labour Party, his friends and his family is immeasurable.”
Mr Darling served as the chancellor under prime minister Gordon Brown from 2007 to 2010 during the final years of the last Labour government.
He was in charge at the Treasury during the crucial period of the global banking crisis – pushing through a huge rescue package in October 2008 which helped stabilize the economy.
The Labour grandee also ran the successful Better Together campaign which saw voters in Scottish reject Scottish independent at the referendum of 2014.
Mr Darling was pitted against the might of Alex Salmond’s SNP and the wider “Yes” movement which gained huge momentum in the run-up the ballot.
But the Labour veteran was seen to get the better of Mr Salmond during a vital pre-poll TV debate – challenging to explain which currency an independent Scotland would use.
The ex-chancellor had been a senior figure in Tony Blair’s government since the 1997 election landslide – starting as chief Treasury secretary before going to cabinet positions in charge of work and pensions, trade and transport.
The influenced Labour politician first entered parliament in 1987 after winning his Edinburgh South seat from the Conservatives, and he represented the Scottish capital city until he stepped down in 2015.