The news has come through this evening that Bashir Ahmad MSP has died of a heart attack.
He was at home with his family. The suddenness has left us all stunned. People with him at work only an hour or two earlier say all seemed fine. From God we come and to Him is the return.
Uncle Bashir, as we called him, was a great man. The best. People admired him because he had those characteristics we all need - exemplary manners, a great nature, warmth and hospitality.
He was a history maker - Scotland's first ethnic minority MSP, its first Muslim MSP.
He epitomised the stereotype of the first generation Asian Scots. Graft, hard work, entrepreneurship. He was also different to most in our elder generation - through his civic engagement. I'm in the SNP largely because of him. In 2003, he made the effort to get to know a lot of us who'd been involved in antiwar activity. Not only had he blazed a trail that a number of us were to follow, but he encouraged and helped others to do so. Often, elders give lip service about getting young people involved - he meant it.
He set up the Scots Asians for Independence as a bridge between the party and the Asian community and there are a tranche of people that owe him a debt for that work. So many in BME communities lack contacts and role models, and that's what made this body so important.
For him, it wasn't about his own personal achievements or glory. His cause was independence. Whenever you were to meet him, most likely you'd be quizzed about what you were doing to achieve it. In more recent times, you could also sense his own personal frustration that with his years, he perhaps didn't have as much energy as he used to.
For me he'll always be an inspiration. Speaking to people this evening just reemphasises the esteem and fondness in which he was held. My thoughts and prayers with his family.