TRIBUTES have been paid to former Upper Nithsdale MSP Alex Fergusson who died at the age of 69 on Tuesday.

Mr Fergusson represented Galloway and Upper Nithsdale in Holyrood between 2003 and 2011 and served as the third Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 2007 to 2011.

Politicians from all parties have paid tribute to Mr Fergusson.

Councillor Elaine Murray, Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “Alex and I both served in the Scottish Parliament between 1999 and 2016 and both of us felt very privileged to represent constituencies in Dumfries and Galloway. Alex was very committed to representing his constituents, which he did with grace and dignity. He was a good and honourable man, highly respected across political parties and will be greatly missed.”

Current Presiding Officer Ken MacIntoch said: "Saddened by the death of former Presiding Officer Sir Alex Fergusson. He presided over us with good humour and a fundamental decency that was recognised by Members from every party."

South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine posted on Twitter "The death of Sir Alex Fergusson is so sad. I worked with him at a local and parliament level. He was a gentleman."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, said: ''To me, Alex was foremost a great friend and I will miss him dearly. He is the most thoroughly decent person I have ever known.

"His legacy was to ensure our Scottish Parliament was a Parliament for the whole of Scotland and that rural issues were given their place.

"He turned down the official car and drove himself back to Galloway every week so he could work for the constituents he always saw as his priority.

"They, like us all, will miss him, but we can take comfort from the positive mark his public service has left on Scotland."

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth added: “Alex was a real giant of a man in every way and will be very sorely missed by those who had the privilege of knowing him. I can’t recall ever being in a room with him when he didn’t come across and shake my hand warmly. I had a huge amount of respect for Sir Alex as an MSP because he always believed his duty was to the people of Galloway and Upper Nithsdale and he was a passionate advocate for our region.”