Seamus Close was deputy leader when I joined the party and was one of the most encouraging voices in helping me do so.
People didn’t always like the message Seamus was giving but respected the fact he was a straight talker and fierce debater.
He was an astute politician who was an advocate for ordinary people.
He put in the hard yards in negotiations, including leading to the Good Friday Agreement, but never lost the energy he had for helping people and creating a shared future.
Seamus was someone I had huge affection for and I am genuinely really sad to hear this news today.
While his politics was important to him, his family were always the priority for Seamus, and my thoughts are with them today.
Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party