Rhodri Morgan
Former Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan dies aged 77. Reuters

Rhodri Morgan, the former First Minister for Wales, has died aged 77.

The Labour politician became elected as an MP in 1987 and was the longest-serving First Minister for Wales, having served in the position from 2000 to 2009.

Current First Minister Carwyn Jones confirmed his death in a statement on Wednesday (17 May) and paid tribute to his predecessor.

"Wales hasn't just lost a great politician, we've lost a real father figure," he said, reported Wales Online.

"In very many ways Rhodri wasn't like other politicians and that is why people warmed to him, trusted him, and felt like they knew him so well.

"He was funny, clever, engaging on almost any topic and absolutely passionate about all things Welsh.

"I owe him a great deal, just as we all do in Welsh Labour.

"He did so much to fight for, and then establish devolution in the hearts and minds of the public in our country.

"His bright confidence was infectious, and we can see so much of Rhodri's can-do attitude in our modern Wales. That first decade of self-governance, and making distinct choices for Wales will forever be associated with his leadership.

"He will be hugely missed, and my thoughts are with Julie and all the family at this sad time."

Former Labour Welsh secretary Lord Hain also paid tribute to Morgan, calling him a "unique populist intellectual" and "towering figure in every sense whom we will all miss".

"As first minister Rhodri was both the father of devolution and the father of the nation," he said, reported the BBC.

"He did more than anyone to bed down and ensure the new Welsh Assembly gained widespread legitimacy."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was "good friends" with Morgan and paid condolences to his family.

"Tonight we've lost a good friend, a great man and, above all, a giant of the Welsh Labour movement," he said in a statement.

"Our thoughts are with his wife Julie and the rest of the family. They can be truly proud of Rhodri's enormous achievements."

A number of peers and politicians from all ideological persuasions also paid tribute to Morgan on Twitter.

This is very sad news. Rhodri was a hugely respected First Minister of Wales - and a thoroughly lovely man. My thoughts are with his family. https://t.co/jAmvly7kRQ

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 17, 2017

So sad to hear of death of Rhodri Morgan. He will be remembered as the father of devolution & a true gent, respected by all. So sorry Julie.

— Eluned Parrott (@Eluned_Parrott) May 17, 2017

Very sad to hear that former First Minister Rhodri Morgan has passed away; he was an honourable politician and passionate Welshman. #Wales

— Darren Millar AM 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 (@DarrenMillarAM) May 17, 2017

So sad to hear of RhodriMorgan's death, the FirstMinister who laid firm foundations for a new democracy. He loved his country and its people

— Y Llywydd (@yLlywydd) May 17, 2017