Tributes have been paid to SDLP representative Peter Craig (65) from Downpatrick who died after battling cancer during the early hours of New Year's Day.
Party leader Alasdair McDonnell said he was "deeply saddened" by the death of an "excellent" councillor and "one of the party's longest serving members".
Mr McDonnell said: "Peter was at the centre of everything that the party did in south Down.
"He was an excellent councillor and colleague who always worked hard for his community. The party owes many of our electoral successes to his efforts and determination over the years.
"My prayers and thoughts are with Angela and his family at this sad time."
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie added: "I have many fond memories of Peter.
"He was at Eddie McGrady's side when he first took South Down in 1987 and he was with me when I held the seat.
"Peter was the epitome of honesty and integrity."
His funeral service is due to take place at 12 noon on Tuesday in St Patrick's Church, Saul.