carwyn jones wales successor former labour first minister rhodri morgan former first minister rhodri morgan
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Wales has "lost a father figure", his successor Carwyn Jones said.
He was elected as an MP in 1987 and became an AM when the assembly was created in 1999.
Mr Morgan became first minister nine months later, replacing Alun Michael who had stood down. He is widely credited with having brought stability to the fledgling assembly after a turbulent start to the new institution.
Labour's Wayne David was among the first to pay tribute on Wednesday evening, calling Mr Morgan was a "giant of Welsh politics".
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, himself a former AM who sparred with Mr Morgan in the Senedd chamber, said he was "a significant politician" and "great servant to Wales".
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said he was "was much respected across the political spectrum and led Wales with distinction during a crucial period in Welsh history."
Mr Morgan is survived by his wife, Julie, two daughters and a son.