The death of Alliance Councillor Mervyn Jones at the age of 66 is – as yet - unexplained.
Mr Jones had been due to attend the installation of new Alliance Belfast Mayor Nuala McAllister last night and his non-appearance led an Alliance Party member to call at his home, where his body was discovered.
A party spokesperson said a post mortem was to take place to ascertain the cause of Mr Jones’ death.
The Belfast councillor served as Alliance councillor for the Pottinger Ward on Belfast City Council from 1985 until 2001, and then for the Victoria Ward (now Ormiston) from 2005 until present. He also served as party treasurer.
Alliance Leader Naomi Long has paid tribute to him. She said: “Mervyn was an esteemed colleague and friend to all of us in Alliance, and we have all been left profoundly sad by this news.
“He truly loved the party and working for the public, and his quiet, yet diligent work behind the scenes was of immeasurable assistance to Alliance.
“His political work is well known, working as Alliance chief whip on the council during some of the most turbulent periods in City Hall. His political acumen was a huge asset to both Alliance and the City Hall team more widely.
She added: “Mervyn was completely dedicated to his three sons and was never happier than when following his beloved Glentoran, Sunderland and Northern Ireland football teams.
“He will be hugely missed by all of us, not only for his commitment to Alliance and the support and political advice which he offered, but for his dry wit and humour which often livened up long meetings.
“On behalf of Alliance, I have expressed our deepest sympathies to Mervyn’s ex-wife Dawn, his sons Graham, Timothy and Ian, his brothers Trevor, Barry and Keith, and the Jones family circle.”