Nicola Sturgeon has led tributes to the head of communication for the Scottish Government’s emergency response unit, Andrew Slorance, who has died from coronavirus.
The 49-year-old died on Saturday morning after developing complications linked to coronavirus, his wife Louise has announced.
In a post on social media, Ms Slorance wrote: “It is with a broken heart that we say Andrew passed away with Covid-19 on Saturday morning.”
In response, the First Minister tweeted: “All of us in @scotgov are devastated by this news and send love to @LouiseSlorance and family.
“Andrew was a wonderful person and made a difference in all he did. He was a crucial part of our resilience team and central to our fight against Covid this year.
“We will miss him hugely.”
Mr Slorance was diagnosed with the rare and incurable cancer Mantle Cell Lymphoma in 2015 but during the pandemic managed to raise almost £9,000 for Cancer Research UK for a sponsored 300-mile bike ride in September.
Having tested positive for Covid-19 in early November after undergoing chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, he was put on ventilation on November 20.
On Twitter the following day, Ms Slorance wrote: “Yesterday was one of the toughest days of our lives as @slorance agreed to be put on mechanical ventilation.
“Having spent time with him, I have no doubt this is the right choice and will give him the rest he needs.
“So, for now, family Slorance will do what they do best, stick together, try to stay strong and look for our miracle x”.
The former journalist was the first head of media relations for the Scottish Parliament after its creation in 1999 and was Alex Salmond’s official spokesman between 2007 and 2010.
In 2012, Mr Slorance joined the government’s resilience division as head of response and communications unit responsible for responding to and planning for major emergencies.
In September, Scotland’s national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch described Ms Slorance as an “actual legend” and tweeted: “Scotland….this man has done more during the pandemic than almost any other and now he is taking some time to once again face his own cancer fight.
“He is an actual legend….I wish him well and look forward to his return….”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf wrote: “Louise, I am devastated.
“Andrew was one of the kindest people I ever came across.
“Despite his health challenges I can’t remember him with anything other than a smile on his face.
“The whole Scottish Government family will miss him tremendously.
“My thoughts & prayers with you.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman added: “This is so very sad.
“Andrew was a lovely, kind man who fought so hard to live and many of us were proud to know and will miss him greatly.
“My heartfelt condolences to you, Louise, and all the family.”
Former first minister Jack McConnell tweeted: “Such a good guy. So terribly sad. Lots of [love] and sympathy to you, Louise, and all the family.”