West Norfolk councillor Ian Gourlay has died after a long illness, the authority has announced this afternoon.
Political colleagues and opponents yesterday united in tribute to the Fairstead ward councillor, who died on Sunday and had represented the area for the past 14 years.
Labour group leader John Collop said he and his wife Sandra, a fellow councillor, had known Mr Gourlay since they first moved to the town 30 years ago and had worked together politically and in business.
He said: “This is a very sad loss for his family, the council and the residents of Fairstead.
“He was a tremendous councillor who worked tirelessly for his ward, and he was also a close personal friend. My wife and I will miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Labour MEP Alex Mayer added: “Ian was a leading figure in the Labour Party across Norfolk and a pillar of his local community.
“I was lucky to spend many hours on the on the doorsteps campaigning with Ian. He always stood up for the people of King’s Lynn and his death is a great loss.”
First elected to the borough council in 2003, Mr Gourlay was most recently deputy leader of the opposition Labour group and served on both its planning committee and regeneration and community panel.
Council leader Brian Long said he was saddened to hear of his death.
He said: “Ian was a hard working councillor with a big heart. He was always a larger-than-life character with strong opinions and a less than conventional approach to getting things done.
“But behind all of that was a total desire to do the best he could to help the people of his ward.
“He was a real advocate for the Fairstead estate and the people he represented. He will be sorely missed.”