A STALWART Risca councillor who dedicated more than 40 years of his life to politics has died.

Tributes have been paid to Keith Griffiths who died at the Royal Gwent Hospital on Sunday afternoon, just days after successful re-election in the Risca West ward.

The 75-year-old was diagnosed last September with prostate cancer, but still battled on to represent the area on Caerphilly Council.

Councillor Griffiths gave 45 years of service as a councillor to Risca under the Monmoutshire County, Gwent County and Caerphilly County Borough Councils.

His wife Phyllis Griffiths, 68, described her husband as a tireless servant for the people of Risca.

"He was a terror in the chamber but outside he would forget all about it. He was always a family man and was very close to his grandchildren."

He was a father of two, grandfather of five, stepfather of three and step-grandfather of six.

Before the election Councillor Griffiths, born in Ochrwyth (cor) in Risca, worked as cabinet member of transportation and planning.

Former Labour council leader Harry Andrews said he was devastated to hear the news.

"He carried out his work as a cabinet member with great enthusiasm," he said.

He said he had committed himself to bringing the £60 million regeneration project in Risca, which promises to bring 200 new homes and 500 jobs, to reality.

As well as the Risca regeneration project, Mr Griffiths also campaigned to restore the old Palace Cinema, which had become a targett for vandalism.

The building is now in the process of being turned it into a state-of-the-art library and Tesco Express store.

He was also at the forefront of plans to clear up Caerphilly borough of derelict homes in 2006.

Crosskeys councillor Michael Gray said Mr Griffiths was his friend and mentor.

"He was a very friendly conscientious gentleman, and was devoted to helping people from all walks of life."

Mr Griffiths' death leaves the Labour group down to 31 compared to Plaid's Caerphilly group of 32.

Councillor Andrews said: "A by-election will come up at the appropriate time and will be contested by numerous interests, but nothing will likely happen for a month."

Mr Andrews added it would over the next couple of weeks that the "serious business" of coalition building would begin.