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'Extremely sad news': Tributes paid after former British Cabinet secretary dies from cancer

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have led the tributes to Sir Jeremy Heywood.

Sir Jeremy Heywood
Sir Jeremy Heywood
Image: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

FORMER CABINET SECRETARY Sir Jeremy Heywood has died from cancer aged 56, Downing Street has announced.

Heywood, who been Cabinet secretary since 2012 and head of the British civil service since 2014, retired less than two weeks ago. He had been on leave since June to receive treatment.

He previously served as principal private secretary to prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as well as chief of staff to Brown and Downing Street permanent secretary to David Cameron.

In a statement to Sky News, his wife, Suzanne paid tribute to a “wonderful father”.

“He saw it as a huge privilege to work so closely with four prime ministers and two chancellors and was unwavering in his efforts to help each of them reach their goals…

“Away from his work, he inspired admiration, respect and affection in his many and diverse group of friends and returned it to them. Jeremy could light up any room or conversation and loved hosting a good party.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “This is extremely sad news and all of my thoughts are with Jeremy’s family and friends.

He worked tirelessly to serve our country in the finest traditions of the civil service and he is a huge loss to British public life.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Heywood was “an impressive and dedicated public servant”, adding:.” My thoughts are with his family, loved ones and colleagues at this sad time.”

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Órla Ryan

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