FORMER first minister Rhodri Morgan has died aged 77.

He was elected as an MP in 1987 for Cardiff West and went on to become leader of Welsh Labour and First Minister of Wales in 2000, replacing Alun Michael, and held the position until 2009.

Mr Michael, now police and crime commissioner for South Wales, was among the first to pay tributes to who he called "the most popular politician of his generation".

He said: “When Rhodri and I were first elected in 1987 we were part of a Welsh resurgence of political radicalism which was a staging point for 1997 and the road to devolution which has been so crucial to the Wales in which we now live.

“He led the Welsh government and the Assembly through turbulent times to stability and laid the firm foundations on which Carwyn Jones and the current government have been able to build."

First minister Carwyn Jones said Wales had lost both a "great politician" and a "great father figure".

The Welsh Labour leader said: "In very many ways Rhodri wasn't like other politicians, and that is why people warmed to him, trusted him and felt like they knew him so well.

"He was funny, clever, engaging on almost any topic and absolutely passionate about all things Welsh.

"I owe him a great deal, just as we all do in Welsh Labour. He did so much to fight for, and then establish devolution in the hearts and minds of the public in our country.

He added: "His bright confidence was infectious, and we can see so much of Rhodri's can-do attitude in our modern Wales."

Mr Jones was also joined in publishing a statement by his English counterpart, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who called Mr Morgan a "giant of the Welsh Labour movement".

Mr Morgan is survived by his wife, Julie, two daughters and a son.

Other tributes have been paid on social media to Mr Morgan.

Politicians in Gwent have also been paying tribute and adding their condolences.