Nick Clegg has paid tribute to Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats who passed away at his home on Monday night at the age of 55.

In a statement, the current Lib Dem leader described his predecessor as "one of the most gentle and unflappable politicians I have ever known" and "one of the most gifted politicians of his generation".

Here's his statement in full:

Charles's untimely death robs Britain of one of the most gifted politicians of his generation.

Charles devoted his life to public service, yet he had an unusual gift for speaking about politics with humour and humility which touched people well beyond the world of politics.

He was a staunch internationalist and passionate believer in Britain's role in Europe, yet he was a proud Highlander, Scot and British parliamentarian.

He was one of the most gentle and unflappable politicians I have ever known, yet he was immensely courageous too not least when he spoke for the country against the invasion of Iraq.

He led the Liberal Democrats to our party's greatest electoral successes, yet 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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