Arlene Foster has led tributes to former Secretary of State James Brokenshire, who announced he has resigned as a security minister to focus on his cancer treatment.
The Conservative MP had his right lung removed in January after he announced there was a recurrence of a tumour in the organ.
Mr Brokenshire said on Wednesday he is standing down from the Government to “focus on restoring my health”, having been first diagnosed with the condition two years ago.
Appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr Brokenshire (53) replaced Theresa Villiers as Secretary of State and served in office from July 14, 2016 until January 8, 2018.
He was replaced by Karen Bradley after stepping down from the position on health grounds.
Mrs Foster praised the former Northern Ireland Secretary and wished him well for his recovery.
“Very sorry to hear this news. In a world where insincerity is sometimes the norm, James Brokenshire is a sincere, kind, thoughtful gentleman. Get well soon and best wishes to Cathy and the family,” she wrote on Twitter.
In December 2017, the father-of-three noticed blood in his cough and underwent testing that discovered that he had early stage lung cancer and he was forced to step back from politics.
The upper lobe of his right lung was removed at Guy’s Hospital at that time before he returned to Parliament just five weeks later.
In a letter, Mr Brokenshire thanked the Prime Minister for his support during the treatment and praised the “truly amazing” medics who have been working with him.
“My recovery from treatment and return to full duties is, however, taking longer than anticipated,” he wrote.
“Given my responsibilities to the public, the Government and to Parliament, I have therefore concluded that it is best that I stand down from my ministerial role and focus on restoring my health.”
He said he hopes to be able to “serve again in some way in the future”, and Mr Johnson responded by offering his full support and to wish a “speedy return to full health”.
The Prime Minister added: “I understand entirely your need to step down from your role but look forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible.”