Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson dies aged 79
Nicola Sturgeon said he made an “immense” contribution to the success of the SNP.
Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson has died after a short illness, the party has confirmed.
Mr Wilson died in hospital at the age of 79.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has led tributes to him, saying he made an “immense” contribution to the success of the SNP, and that his loss would be “keenly felt”.
A sad day for @theSNP as we announce the death of former leader and giant of our movement, Gordon Wilson. My thoughts are with his family.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 25, 2017
Mr Wilson had worked as a solicitor before being elected as the MP for Dundee East in 1974, a seat he held for the next 13 years. He was leader of the SNP from 1979 to 1990, before being succeeded in that role by Alex Salmond.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Gordon Wilson’s contribution to the success of the modern SNP was immense and his loss will be keenly felt across our party. He was a fine and kind man, a loving husband, father and grandfather and a true patriot.
“From his early days promoting the case for independence on Radio Free Scotland to his 13 years of service as MP for Dundee East and 11 years as leader of the party, Gordon was a passionate advocate for Scotland at every level.
“He was at the centre of many lively and passionate debates through the 1970s and 80s over how independence would be achieved and continued to play a part in the independence debate right though to the referendum in 2014.”
Very sad to hear of the passing of Gordon Wilson, my thoughts are with Edith & his family, he will be greatly missed— Shona Robison MSP (@ShonaRobison) June 25, 2017
Very sorry to hear that Gordon Wilson has passed away. A real giant of the party and independence movement. May he rest in peace.— Michael Matheson MSP (@MathesonMichael) June 25, 2017
Mr Wilson is survived by his wife Edith, his daughters Margaret and Kate, and five grandchildren.
Mr Salmond said: “Not only was Gordon one of the masterminds of the SNP parliamentary breakthrough of the 1970s but he led the party through tough times in the 1980s. Holding his Dundee seat in 1979 and 1983 was crucial in retaining the credibility which allowed the SNP to prosper in the 1990s and beyond.
“The party, the national movement and Scotland owe him a great debt and my condolences go to Edith and the family.”
Really sad to hear of the death of Gordon Wilson. A true giant of the independence movement.— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart) June 25, 2017
Very sad to hear of the passing of former SNP leader Gordon Wilson this morning. Thoughts and prayers with his family.— Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (@TasminaSheikh) June 25, 2017
Very sorry to lose Gordon Wilson. A dear and inspiring friend whose courage and tenacity helped build @theSNP of today.— John Swinney (@JohnSwinney) June 25, 2017
Deputy First Minister and family friend John Swinney said: “Gordon Wilson was a giant of the Scottish National Party. He was critical to the transformation of the SNP from the fringe to the mainstream of Scottish politics.
“His administrative, campaigning and political skills built the SNP into a nationwide political force. The strength of the SNP today is built on the courage and tenacity of fine people like Gordon Wilson.”
Details of his funeral will be announced in the coming days, the SNP said.