Lambeth's political leaders expressed their shock and sadness after the borough's mayor died yesterday from a suspected heart attack.
Councillor Mark Bennett, who represented Streatham South ward since 2005, passed away in hospital yesterday morning.
The Labour councillor was 43-years-old.
Coun Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth Council, said: “I am devastated to have lost someone who was not only a fantastic representative for the borough, but also a much loved and close personal friend.
“Mark was a very talented individual who went above and beyond for the people of his ward, and for the whole community.
“He loved being mayor, welcoming people to the borough and supporting great causes, such as his support for The Trussell Trust, which runs food banks across Lambeth. He was well known for his passion for history, often peppering his speeches with stories from the past.
“We will all miss him deeply.”
Coun Bennett was a former Cabinet Office civil servant who served as an assistant to the Chief Press Secretary Alastair Campbell at Downing Street from 1997 to 2001 under Tony Blair.
Streatham MP Chuka Umunna said: "Mark was a kind and lovely guy with great intelligence, wit and insight.
"Devoted to Lambeth, he not only served as our current Mayor but as councillor of his ward of Streatham South, after winning the by-election there in 2005.
"He was a conscientious and dedicated councillor – I have fond memories of doing Street stalls with him and canvassing the roads in Streatham Vale."
He was a Lambeth Council cabinet member for more than six years before becoming mayor in March 2013.
The openly gay councillor was a campaigner against hate crime and took part in the 2013 London Gay pride Parade wearing his mayoral chains.
The council said details of his funeral and memorial service will follow.
A book of condolence for him will be opened at Lambeth Town Hall.
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