Britain’s former minister and longtime Labour Party figure Denis Healey died today after a brief illness.
Healey, 98, was Labour’s defence secretary from 1964 to 1970 and chancellor of the exchequer from 1974 to 1979 before becoming deputy party leader in opposition in 1980.
The former Leeds MP’s family said he died peacefully at his Sussex home on Saturday, after a short illness.
British Prime Minister David Cameron described Healy as a “huge figure of post-war politics”, while Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “a Labour giant”.
“We’ve lost a huge figure of post-war politics. A hero in World War Two as Beach Master at Anzio and a brave politician, Denis Healey told his party hard truths about Britain having to live within her means,” Cameron said.
“Denis Healey was a Labour giant whose record of service to party and country stands as his testament. All our thoughts are with his family,” Corbyn tweeted.
Healey served as an MP for Leeds for 40 years from 1952 before joining the House of Lords in 1992.
A defining moment in his career came in 1976 when, as chancellor, he applied for an emergency loan from the the International Monetary Fund in an effort to save the pound from collapse.
He came close to winning the Labour leadership in 1980, finishing just 10 votes behind winner Michael Foot.
A graduate of Oxford university, he also served in the Army, joining operations in North Africa, Sicily and Italy during World War II.