The head of Norfolk's adult social services collapsed and died during a meeting.
Medical professionals attended the scene yesterday afternoon but were unable to revive Harold Bodmer.
A spokeswoman for the council said emergency services arrived swiftly but "he could not be brought round".
Flags are flying at half mast at county hall in respect for the executive director who was said to be "universally liked" and popular.
All formal meetings in County Hall have also been cancelled for the day.
The leader of Norfolk County Council, Cliff Jordan said: " I cannot think of a single man who has risen to the top of his profession as Harold did this year and been so universally liked.
"He was the very epitome of public service and of the caring professions. It goes without saying that our thoughts are with his family at this very distressing time."
Wendy Thomson, managing director of Norfolk County Council, also paid tribute on behalf of the authority.
"Harold will be deeply missed, remembered for his kindness, generosity, and commitment to Norfolk and social services more widely," she said.
'Honourable and noble'
The MP for North West Norfolk, Henry Bellingham, described the 61 year old as "honourable".
"He was an incredibly able, professional and caring director of adult social services who commanded huge respect not just across Norfolk, but across the region," he said.
"Indeed, he represented everything that is honourable and noble in public service."
Mr Bodmer was educated in Rhodesia. After various roles in social services he joined Cambridgeshire County Council, before moving to Norfolk adult social services as assistant director in 2003.
In 2006 he led the department as its director. This year he was elected as the national presidential of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.
Mr Bodmer leaves a wife, Julie, daughter Holly, and sons Joel and Sam.