FORMER first minister Rhodri Morgan has died aged 77.
He was elected as an MP in 1987 for Cardiff West and went on to become leader of Welsh Labour and First Minister of Wales in 2000, replacing Alun Michael, and held the position until 2009.
Mr Michael, now police and crime commissioner for South Wales, was among the first to pay tributes to who he called "the most popular politician of his generation".
He said: “When Rhodri and I were first elected in 1987 we were part of a Welsh resurgence of political radicalism which was a staging point for 1997 and the road to devolution which has been so crucial to the Wales in which we now live.
“He led the Welsh government and the Assembly through turbulent times to stability and laid the firm foundations on which Carwyn Jones and the current government have been able to build."
First minister Carwyn Jones said Wales had lost both a "great politician" and a "great father figure".
The Welsh Labour leader said: "In very many ways Rhodri wasn't like other politicians, and that is why people warmed to him, trusted him and felt like they knew him so well.
"He was funny, clever, engaging on almost any topic and absolutely passionate about all things Welsh.
"I owe him a great deal, just as we all do in Welsh Labour. He did so much to fight for, and then establish devolution in the hearts and minds of the public in our country.
He added: "His bright confidence was infectious, and we can see so much of Rhodri's can-do attitude in our modern Wales."
Mr Jones was also joined in publishing a statement by his English counterpart, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who called Mr Morgan a "giant of the Welsh Labour movement".
Tonight we've lost a good friend, a great man and, above all, a giant of the Welsh labour movement. pic.twitter.com/TisvIVds0Z— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 17, 2017
Mr Morgan is survived by his wife, Julie, two daughters and a son.
Other tributes have been paid on social media to Mr Morgan.
We have just heard the news that former First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan has passed away. Sincere condolences to Julie and the family.— LeanneWood (@LeanneWood) May 17, 2017
My enduring memory of Rhodri Morgan is his use of witty one liners and humour to turn a debate and advance his argument. A great Welshman. A— Alun Cairns (@AlunCairns) May 17, 2017
Terrible news regarding Rhodri Morgan - a giant of devolved politics in Wales. Thoughts with Julie and the family at this difficult time.— Andrew RT Davies (@AndrewRTDavies) May 17, 2017
Politicians in Gwent have also been paying tribute and adding their condolences.
Sad news of death of Rhodri Morgan. Privilege to have served with Rhodri in the Assembly. Thoughts with Julie and family— John Griffiths AM (@JGriffithsLab) May 17, 2017
Rhodri Morgan led Wales boldly and bravely. Wonderful man who spoke to everyone. Clever, kind and proud Welshman. Love to julie and family— Jayne Bryant AM (@JBryantWales) May 17, 2017
Very saddened to hear this news. Wales has lost a true political giant. Such a kind & witty friend. My thoughts are with Julie & his family https://t.co/OOJ1cYxbUQ— Chris Evans (@EvansForIslwyn) May 17, 2017
So terribly sad to hear that Rhodri Morgan has died. He was always so lovely and encouraging to and an inspirational leader #ercofannwyl— Debbie Wilcox (@DebbieWilcox1) May 17, 2017