Tributes are being paid to the former First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan who has died at the age of 77.

A book of condolence has been opened by the National Assembly for Wales at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay and the Assembly’s office in Colwyn Bay.

Mr Morgan became a Member of Parliament in 1987 and an AM when the Assembly first started in 1999.

He was First Minister of Wales between 2000 and 2009 before stepping down from the Assembly in 2011.

As a mark of respect, all flags across the Assembly estate are flying at half-mast.

Assembly Members, staff and visitors will observe a minute silence in the Senedd at 12.30.

Further tributes will be announced shortly.

First Minister Carwyn Jones led tributes.

He said:  “Wales hasn't just lost a great politician, we've lost a real father figure. 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 Wales. He did so much to fight for, and then establish devolution in the hearts and minds of the public in our country. His bright confidence was infectious, and we can see much of Rhodri's can-do attitude in our modern Wales. That first decade of self-governance, and making distinct choices for Wales will forever be associated with his leadership.

“He will be hugely missed, and my thoughts are with Julie and all the family at this sad time.”

Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, Elin Jones AM, said:“I am very saddened to hear of the death of Rhodri Morgan, and on behalf of the members and staff at the National Assembly for Wales, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Julie and the family.

“As First Minister of Wales, Rhodri’s contribution in helping build our nation and its young democracy was immeasurable.  His popularity among the people of Wales and his determination to anchor the institution firmly in the national psyche accelerated the acceptance of devolution and nurtured pride in our new institution."  

Joyce Watson Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, and a former Pembrokeshire County Councillor, said: “Rhodri was a joy to campaign with. On the doorstep, he was one of those rare politicians that always drew a smile, never a groan. He knew every village in Wales and everybody he met warmed to him instantly.

“When I was elected to the Assembly in 2007 I got to know the other Rhodri Morgan, the skilful politician whose intelligence and leadership helped cement the foundations of our young democracy – that’s his legacy.

“Everybody in the Labour family will miss him. My thoughts are with Julie and the family.”

Labour candidate for south Pembrokeshire, Marc Tierney, added: "I met Rhodri on many occasions, he was a regular visitor to West Wales.

"Rarely does a politician receive so much respect across the political divide. Rhodri was generous with his time, passionate for Wales and its people and was a truly inspiring politician. He will be missed. My thoughts are with Julie and his family and all those who knew him."