An ex-Welsh Labour minister who faced a party investigation into allegations about his personal conduct has taken his own life, it is understood.
Carl Sargeant, 49, lost his job as cabinet secretary for communities and children last Friday.
He was suspended from Labour after the first minister learned of a number of alleged incidents involving women.
A family statement said they are “devastated beyond words” at the loss of “the glue that bound us together”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the death was “deeply shocking news”.
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- Reaction to the death of Carl Sargeant
Mr Sargeant, who was married and had two children, was found dead at his home in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, on Tuesday morning.
He was sacked from his Welsh Government job after allegations about his behaviour were passed to First Minister Carwyn Jones’s office.
Mr Jones had said on Monday he felt he had no choice but to refer the matter to the party. Mr Sargeant had vowed to clear his name.
The Welsh Assembly’s business for Tuesday was cancelled as a mark of respect following his death, and meetings on Wednesday and Thursday will also not take place.
In a statement Mr Sargeant’s family said: “Carl was a much loved husband, father and friend.
“He wasn’t simply a part of our family. He was the glue that bound us together.
“He was the most kind and caring husband, father, son and friend. We are devastated beyond words, and we know our grief will be shared by all those who knew and loved him.”
Former Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas said: “Carl clearly felt he had been found guilty before he had a chance to defend himself.
“So I think we need to develop a system which is fair to everybody, which defends everybody, but doesn’t place people in a position where they feel they have no opportunity whatsoever to fight their cause.”
Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor
There is a palpable sense of shock at the assembly.
Carl Sargeant was a hugely experienced figure who had taken on a broad range of ministerial positions over the past decade from local government to housing to the environment.
It was this experience that has formed the backdrop to the many political tributes that have been pouring in.
But clearly the circumstances surrounding his sacking from the cabinet on Friday, amid allegations about his personal conduct, will also be on people’s minds as the political establishment in Wales comes to terms with his death.
Paying tribute, the first minister said: “Carl was a friend as well as a colleague and I am shocked and deeply saddened by his death.
“He made a big contribution to Welsh public life and fought tirelessly for those he represented both as a minister and as a local assembly member.
“He will be a great loss both to our party and to the Senedd.”
Mr Corbyn said the AM was “somebody who represented our party” and “worked hard to represent his communities”.
The Labour leader said that all allegations must be examined and pursued but added: “There must also be great pastoral care and support given to everybody involved in these accusations, and also that we deal with them, all parties, as quickly as possible.”
Speaking through tears on BBC Radio Wales, former local government minister Leighton Andrews said: “Carl Sargeant was loved. He was loved across the political divide. He was loved by the people in his own community.
“Carl was a unique politician. He arrived in the assembly from the factory floor. He grew up and still lived in the council estate that helped shape his roots in Connah’s Quay – he was still very much part of that community.
“My understanding is that Carl was still not aware of the detail of the allegations against him even though, I’m told, this morning.”
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news, adding: “My heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues.”
Elin Jones, assembly presiding officer, said Mr Sargeant “served the people of Alyn and Deeside with pride and determination” and that he had made an “enormous contribution to the development of this democratic institution”.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: “Our Parliament has lost a stalwart and many of us have lost a friend.”
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: “Carl Sargeant made a significant contribution to Welsh politics, both as an assembly member and a government minister.”
UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton described him as a “gentle giant” who would be “missed across the party divide”.
Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams, who was a colleague of Mr Sargeant’s in the Welsh Government, said: “Not only was Carl a dedicated local AM, but he was an effective government minister who had a significant impact across political life at a national and community level.”
FC Nomads, the Connah’s Quay football team that Mr Sargeant was president of, said it was cancelling all games this weekend in a mark of respect.
North Wales Police Supt Mark Pierce said police were called at about 11:30 GMT on Tuesday to a report that a man’s body had been found at an address in Connah’s Quay.
“The man has been formally identified as local AM Carl Sargeant. His next of kin have been informed and police are supporting the family,” he said.
“North Wales Police are not treating his death as suspicious and the matter has been referred to HM Coroner.”