The provost of Falkirk Council, Tom Coleman, has died after a short illness.
Mr Coleman, who was 72, was first elected as an SNP councillor in 1999 and was convenor of the education and leisure committee from 2001 to 2007.
He became provost in May 2017 and was married with three grown-up children.
The leader of Falkirk Council, Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, described Mr Coleman as a "fierce debater with a sharp wit and a keen mind".
She said: "We are all completely devastated by the shock news and it is particularly difficult to comprehend losing such a strong Scottish patriot on St Andrew's Day."
"Along with a senior colleague, I visited Tom in hospital on Tuesday and was greatly saddened by his physical condition although his intellect was as sharp as ever.
"Tom was a first-class councillor and would have made a great provost had fate been kinder and he been given the time to demonstrate that.
"Few could stand up to Tom Coleman in full flight."