By a Newsnet reporter
Leading QC Paul McBride has been found dead in a Pakistan hotel, the top lawyer is reported to have died in his sleep.
Mr McBride, who was 48, was in Pakistan on a business trip at the time of his death.
A statement issued by spokesman Jack Irvine on behalf of his family said: “Paul died in his sleep last night in a hotel in Pakistan and at this time we would ask you to respect the privacy of his family.”
Mr McBride was found dead in his room by Scottish Human Rights lawyer Aamer Anwar with whom he had made the trip.
Proud of his Catholic working class background Mr McBride became the youngest ever QC in the UK to be appointed Queen’s Council at the age of 35.
A former member of the Labour party he left two years ago to join the Conservative party. However Mr McBride resigned just hours after the election of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.
An outspoken and at times controversial figure Mr McBride’s untimely death will send shock waves throughout the Scottish legal establishment and beyond.
First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to Mr McBride and said: “This is sad and shocking news. Paul McBride was an outstanding Advocate, and a very substantial public figure in Scotland.
“Paul’s genius lay not just in applying his first-class mind to the complex procedures of Scots Law, but also his unrivalled ability to explain and promote the laws of Scotland to a wider public.
“It is typical of Paul that his last public comment was a newspaper column expressing the belief that the anti-sectarian legislation, of which he was such an eloquent advocate, would herald a historic change for the better in Scotland.
“My thoughts today are with Paul’s partner, parents, family and very many friends. Hopefully the knowledge that he was held in such high regard by so many will be of some comfort at this desperately sad time.”