Baroness Glenys Kinnock has died peacefully in her sleep, her family has announced.
Kinnock served as a minister in Sir Tony Blair’s Labour government in the 1990s and ‘00s and also represented Wales in the European Parliament as an MEP.
Her husband and former Labour Party leader Lord Kinnock was by her side when she passed away.
Her family, which includes current Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, said they were “devastated” by her death.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called her a “true fighter” for the left-wing party as he paid tribute to her life and decades-long career.
Starmer said Kinnock was a “passionate lifelong campaigner for social justice at home and abroad” who had an “impressive political career”.
“What we will all remember is Glenys as a true fighter for the Labour Party and the values of the labour movement, a pioneering woman, to whom we owe an enormous debt,” he added.
The 79-year-old had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some six years ago.
Known as a “proud democratic socialist”, Kinnock served as an MEP for 15 years before departing Brussels in 2009 for London.
There, she took up a life peerage when the then-prime minister Gordon Brown appointed her minister for Europe.
Paying tribute, her family said: “she campaigned, in Britain and internationally, for justice and against poverty all her life.”
“Passionate to the end about education, she was a valued and respected school teacher before she began her own political career, as a member of the European Parliament, then being made a peer in the House of Lords from where she served as minister for three of the great passions of her life, Europe, Africa and the UN,” they added.
“Glenys endured Alzheimer’s after being diagnosed in 2017 and, as long as she could, sustained her merriment and endless capacity for love, never complaining and with the innate courage with which she had confronted every challenge throughout her life.”
“Glenys died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of Sunday morning, at home in London. She was the beloved wife and life partner of Neil, the cherished mother of Steve and Rachel and an adored grandmother,” the statement went on, “Neil was with her in her final moments. They had been married for 56 years.”