The Labour MP for Inverclyde, David Cairns, has sadly died after a short illness.
Mr Cairns was admitted to hospital two months ago suffering from acute pancreatitis. Like many of his constituents I naturally believed that he would be back to his duties within a few weeks.
I liked David Cairns, although we had our differences - most obviously on electoral reform. No-one can deny he was a hard-working local MP, and on a number of occasions I have been impressed by the lengths he has gone to on my behalf. I also appreciated his liberal stance on many social and moral issues and the innate decency of the man makes his passing all the more tragic.
Mr Cairns, a former Roman Catholic priest, believed in a more inclusive church and this was evidenced in the work he did for LGBT rights within the Socialist Christian Movement. Openly gay, Cairns also was passionate about tackling the problems of HIV and AIDS, chairing the all-party parliamentary group.
He famously quit as Scottish Office minister in 2008 insisting that while "the worst day of a Labour government is better than the best day of a Tory one" he could not continue to serve under Gordon Brown's leadership.
Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray described Mr Cairns as "a man of enormous dignity, courage and outstanding intellect". I would add that he also had an incredible sense of humour and was far more human than many of his parliamentary colleagues. Personally, I apprecated surprisingly liberal voting record and his obvious determination to work in the interests of his constituents.
My thoughts are with his partner and his family at this sad time.