“This is a hugely sad day for the Liberal Democrats and for the very many people across political and public life who had immense affection and respect for Paddy,” said Vince Cable, current leader of the party. “He took up unpopular causes where he was respected for his convictions, in particular promoting the rights of the citizens of Hong Kong, and — later — military intervention in Kosovo.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May said he served his nation with great distinction.
“He dedicated his life to public service and he will be sorely missed,” she said. “My thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Ashdown served in the Royal Marines from 1959 until 1972. After he left the military he joined the UK Foreign Office for four years.
He was first elected to office in 1983. Five years later he was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, a position he held until 1999. He retired in 2001.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who interviewed Ashdown many times, on Saturday called him a “gentleman, soldier, politician.”
“I first traveled to Bosnia with him to investigate war crimes. His unique brand of diplomacy will be missed,” Amanpour wrote on Twitter.