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Wife of Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford dies suddenly as tributes pour in
28 January 2023, 14:58 | Updated: 28 January 2023, 21:48
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford's wife Clare has died suddenly at the age of 66.
Clare Drakeford, wife of Labour's Mark Drakeford, passed away on Saturday, the Welsh Government announced.
A spokesperson said: "It is with deep sadness that we confirm the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford, wife of the First Minister.
"The thoughts of everyone in the Welsh Government are with the family at this time and we ask that their privacy is respected."
The Drakefords, who had been living in Cardiff, were married since 1977. They had three children together during 46 years of marriage.
While Mr Drakeford has not often commented on his private life, he did say Mrs Drakeford was isolating in their garden shed during the coronavirus pandemic due to underlying health problems.
ITV Wales National Correspondent remembers Clare Drakeford
He told LBC in July 2020: "It's very important they are not put at risk because of their own health conditions.
"The nature of my job is I am out meeting people all the time and undoubtedly I am a risk to them. So since the beginning of this, they have been living in the house. I have been living in the hut at the bottom of the garden.
"We manage the best we can in that way."
Tributes quickly came in from prominent politicians across the country.
Downing Street said Rishi Sunak had offered his "deepest condolences" to the Welsh first minister in private.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted that he was "shocked and saddened" by the news.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford on isolating from his vulnerable family in a hut
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: “My thoughts and prayers are with Mark Drakeford and his family at this exceptionally difficult time.
"On the occasions I met Clare, she was always a lovely lady and was very warm and kind. I’m shocked and deeply saddened to hear of her passing.”
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "My thoughts are with Mark and his family at this terribly sad time.
"On the occasions I met Clare it was obvious how strong the bond between her and Mark was, and I can only imagine the depth of grief he is feeling.
"Sending him love and strength."
Sending our thoughts and prayers to Mark Drakeford and his family. W & C— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) January 28, 2023
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar tweeted: "I can’t put into words how heartbroken I am for Mark Drakeford and his family on the passing of his wife Clare.
"The entire Scottish Labour family sends our love and condolences.
"I hope the happy memories Mark and Clare had together are a comfort at this difficult time."
And the Welsh Parliament (Senedd) Presiding Officer Elin Jones wrote: "As a Senedd we are deeply saddened to learn of Clare Drakeford’s passing.
"We are holding Mark and his family close to our hearts and send them our deepest condolences, love and support."