Tributes have been paid to former Alliance Party councillor, Pat McCudden.
The long-serving Alliance politician quit the party in April 2015 - just days after completing his term as deputy mayor of Newtownabbey.
Mr McCudden took the decision as he and his wife, Roberta, prepared to leave Ballyclare and start a new life in Carlingford.
He joined the party in 1971 and was first elected in 1977.
A popular figure at Mossley Mill - a building he played a part in redeveloping - Mr McCudden was proud to have served as Newtownabbey’s deputy mayor in 1980/81 and again in 2014/15.
In a poignant post on Facebook, South Antrim Alliance MLA John Blair said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pat McCudden, former Ballyclare Alliance councillor and Deputy Mayor of Newtownabbey.
“Pat’s dedication to his family and his home town were beyond question. He will be fondly remembered by all of us for this as well as his sharp wit and ability to work, across parties, for the greater good. Sincere sympathy to Roberta and the family.”
Alliance Glengormley representative, Ald Julian McGrath added: “I wish to offer my sincerest condolences to Roberta and the family.
“Pat was a great source of advice and a mentor when I joined the party in 2011 and during my first election campaign in 2014.”
Paying tribute to her former council colleague, Glengormley SDLP Cllr Noreen McClelland said: “I am really sorry to hear this news. Pat was a real gentleman, always a pleasure to work with. Pat was respectful, genuine and hardworking. My thoughts, at this sad and difficult time, are with his family.”
Mr McCudden also served two spells as President of Ballyclare Rugby Club.
Passing condolences to Mr McCudden’s family on social media, a spokesperson for the club said: “The members of Ballyclare RFC are saddened to learn of the passing of esteemed Past President, Pat McCudden.
“Pat had two terms as President, 1991-92 and 2007-2010. Our thoughts are with Roberta and the family circle at this sad time.”
Funeral arrangements for Mr McCudden are yet to be announced.