Labour MP Paul Flynn has died aged 84, his local party has confirmed.
The veteran politician had reportedly been ill for some time and announced in October he would be standing down after more than 30 years in parliament.
He held several shadow cabinet posts during his parliamentary career, but had not been active in the Commons in recent months.
Newport West Labour tweeted: “It’s with great sadness that we let you know that our MP, Paul Flynn, has died today.
“Paul is a hero to many of us in the Newport Labour family and we mourn for his family’s loss.
“We would ask that the privacy of Paul’s family is respected at this difficult time.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Flynn would be “greatly missed”.
He tweeted: “I’m very sad at the passing of my good friend Paul Flynn. He had such love for Newport, knowledge of radical South Wales history and a dry wit.
“He was an independent thinker who was a credit to the Labour Party. He will be greatly missed.”
Sending my deepest condolences to Paul’s family and friends. Paul was a lovely man and Socialist through and through, it’s an extremely sad day for everybody who knew or worked with Paul, R.I.P. comrade 😭 https://t.co/vdy0mfJYB1
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) February 17, 2019
So so sad. Paul was a real character, no one could say “you’re all the same” about him. Glad I got to serve alongside him. Love to his family, friends and his local party. https://t.co/8Twfs2m7Ot
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) February 17, 2019
First Minister of Wales and Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford said Flynn was a “giant of the Welsh Labour movement”.
He added: “Today’s news will be a source of great sadness to all those who knew him.
“He was one of the most effective communicators of his generation – inside the House of Commons and outside. But it was Paul’s willingness to speak up for causes beyond the political mainstream which marked him out as a politician of real courage and integrity.
“I first met him more than 35 years ago, and it has been a privilege to have worked with him, in the run-up to the devolution era and beyond.”
Jo Stevens, Labour MP for Cardiff Central, described Flynn as a “kind, principled, fascinating man”.
She tweeted: “So very sad to hear that my lovely colleague Paul Flynn MP has died. A kind, principled, fascinating man who was devoted to his constituents & constituency. Sending deepest sympathy to Sam, their family & to all our comrades in @nptwestlab”.
Flynn, who was a strong advocate for the medicinal use of cannabis, announced in October that he intended to stand down as an MP due to health reasons.
He said at the time: “It’s been a great, wonderful, rich experience. I lasted 31 years.”