News broke this morning of the death last night of Banbridge Alliance Councillor Sheila McQuaid.
It is understood Mrs McQuaid had spent some time in hospital in recent weeks.
The Lisnaree Road woman succeeded her husband Frank on Banbridge District Council after ill health forced him to bow out.
Among the first to publicly pay tribute to Mrs McQuaid was Dromore DUP Councillor Paul Rankin.
“I have known Sheila for several years,” he said. “When her husband Frank was on the council she would bring him to the meetings and then when Frank’s health deteriorated she took over from Frank on the Council.
“I always found Sheila to be a real lady - polite and approachable - and she had a good sense of humour.
“Personally, I will miss her on the council. She was always clear and unambiguous in debate, even though there were times when we didn’t share the same views.
“Despite our political differences, when the meetings were over there was a respect held for one another.”
Mr Rankin recalled how, at the 2011 election count in Dromore Community Centre, Mrs McQuaid was among the first to congratulate him on his re-election.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Frank and her family circle,” he said.