5 Jun 2015

Charles Kennedy’s death caused by alcoholism

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy suffered a “major haemorrhage” caused by his alcoholism, a post-mortem examination has concluded.

Charles Kennedy (Reuters)

In a statement, Kennedy’s family said the report made clear that the haemorrhage “was a consequence of his battle with alcoholism”.

The statement continued: “We are grateful to the many friends and also medical experts who sought to help down the years but ultimately this was an illness Charles could not conquer despite all the efforts he and others made.”

The family said it had been “touched beyond measure by the outpouring of warmth” from all parts of the country and all sides of politics after 55-year-old Kennedy died suddenly at his home in Fort William on Monday.


“The pain we feel has been at least eased somewhat by the reaction of so many people across Scotland, the UK and beyond, and by the affection expressed by politicians across the spectrum. It has become all too apparent to us how much Charles meant to so many people and how many lives he touched.”

Kennedy’s ex-wife Sarah and 10-year-old son Donald attended a special session in the House of Commons on Wednesday, when MPs delivered a series of warm tributes to their popular former colleague.

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“The words and images of that day, and of so many other tributes, will be there for us to look back on with pride in Charles, and Donald will always know what a special father he had,” the family said.


Charles Kennedy admitted publicly that he had been receiving treatment for an alcohol problem just months after leading the party to its greatest success in the 2005 general election.

Despite declaring his hope to continue at the head of the Liberal Democrats, he was forced to stand down in the face of the threat of resignations by senior colleagues.

He lost his Commons seat after 32 years last month as the SNP almost swept the board north of the border in the general election.