Paddy Ashdon dies aged 77

Lord Ashdown’s death comes a month after he revealed that he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Speaking to Somerset Live at the time, Lord Ashdown said: “We must see about the outcome, which as always with things like this, is unpredictable. I’ve fought a lot of battles in my life.

‘A courageous fighter’: Tributes to Paddy Ashdown

Reaction after former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown dies at the age of 77

“This time I am lucky enough to have the magnificent help of our local hospital, and my friends and family, and that gives me great confidence.”

He had also said on Twitter that his condition did “not merit any fuss”, adding that “many go through this”.

A Lib Dem spokesperson said Lord Ashdown died on Saturday evening “following a short illness”.

They added: “He will be desperately missed by everyone at the Liberal Democrats as a dear friend and colleague, and remembered as someone who made an immeasurable contribution to furthering the cause of liberalism.”

In 1971, he left military life and joined the Foreign Office, moving his wife Jane and their two children to Geneva while he was attached to the United Nations.

But the couple became restless and worried about their children’s education so decided to return to England, settling into Jane’s home town of Yeovil.

However he succeeded four years later and held the seat until 2001.

In 1988, he became leader of the Liberal Democrats and transformed the party into a political force with 46 MPs by 1997.

“He was a personal example to me and to many other candidates,” he said.

Sir Vince added that the former party leader was “always listened to, in particular, on international issues and defence” and that he often “took up unpopular causes where he was respected for his convictions”.

After stepping down as party leader in 1999, he was knighted and then made a peer as Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon.

He spent four years as High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from May 2002, reflecting his passionate advocacy for international intervention in that region.

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He was also a witness for the prosecution at the war crimes trial of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Lord Ashdown is survived by his wife Jane and two adult children.

Source: Sky UK