Nicola Sturgeon leads tributes to respected Scottish Government communications chief

Tributes have been pouring in following the death of respected Scottish Government emergency response unit communications chief Andrew Slorance after contracting Covid-19.

Nicola Sturgeon led the tributes
Nicola Sturgeon led the tributes

The 49-year-old had been fighting a rare and incurable cance – mantle cell lymphoma – for the past five years.

He had recently undergone stem cell treatment and chemotherapy to beat a recurrence of the disease, but tested positive for Covid-19 early last month.

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Condolences have been pouring in since his death was announced.

Mr Slorance’s wife Louise broke the sad news on social media.

She tweeted: “It is with a broken heart that we say @slorance passed away with Covid-19 on Saturday morning.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those who have passed on their respects.

She said: “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.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman posted: “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.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf tweeted: “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.”

Energy Minster Paul Wheelhouse said: “Aside from his courage and being fiercely proud of Hawick, Andrew was a superb guy and one of the finest public servants I’ve had the honour to work with.”

Scottish comedian Janey Godley, famous for her humorous voiceovers of the First Minister’s daily coronavirus briefings, said: “This is heart-breaking, Louise, please know we are thinking of you and your family.”

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 the response and communications unit responsible for responding to and planning for major emergencies.

He was first diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2015, but the disease had recently returned.

Mr Slorance had been due to undergo a stem cell transplant last Easter, but the procedure was postponed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He wrote a popular blog about his battle with the disease and raised a significant amount of money for cancer charities - most recently a 300-mile cycle challenge, which he undertook in September.

In September, Scotland’s national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch described Ms Slorance as an “actual legend”.

He 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.”

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