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Monday, 7 January, 2002, 23:13 GMT
Browns' baby dies in hospital
Mr Brown and his wife Sarah pictured after she was discharged from hospital
Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah
Chancellor Gordon Brown's daughter, Jennifer Jane, has died in hospital in Edinburgh.

The 10-day-old baby was said to have died "peacefully" in her parent's arms at 1720 GMT on Monday.

Mr Brown and his wife, Sarah, had been at their daughter's bedside at the specialist neo-natal unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Jennifer Jane was born seven weeks early by Caesarean section and weighing only 2lb 4oz.

She was transferred to Edinburgh from Forth Park Maternity Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, near Mr Brown's Dunfermline East constituency home, after tests gave doctors "cause for concern".

A family spokesman said her condition deteriorated on Sunday and staff at the unit said Jennifer Jane had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

'Thoughts and prayers'

The girl was baptised by a Church of Scotland minister during a short private service with the couple at the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion on Sunday.

Jennifer had been born early - at 1216 GMT on Friday 28 December - after ultrasound tests showed she was suffering problems that were causing an irregular heartbeat in the womb.

A spokeswoman for Forth Park Maternity Hospital said: "We wish to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Gordon and Sarah at this difficult time. This is a great tragedy."

Our hearts go out to Gordon and Sarah Brown at this very sad time for them

Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrat Leader

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who is in Afghanistan to hold talks with the leader of the Afghan interim government, said everyone in Britain would be keeping the Brown family in their prayers.

Speaking during a press conference at Bagram Airport, a visibly moved Mr Blair said he was "so desperately sorry for Gordon and Sarah".

"I know how much Gordon was looking forward to being a father," the prime minister said.

"I know how proud they were of Jennifer Jane and what wonderful parents they would have been to her."

Nigel Griffiths, a minister at the Department of Trade and Industry, and a close friend of Mr Brown said: "This is a terrible tragedy and all Gordon and Sarah's friends are deeply upset.

"They are in our thoughts and prayers."

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said: "Our hearts go out to Gordon and Sarah Brown at this very sad time for them.

Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavillion
Jennifer was cared for in an Edinburgh hospital

"I send them my deepest condolences and we must now all now respect their privacy."

Conservative Party Leader, Iain Duncan Smith, said his thoughts and prayers were with the Browns at this "devastating" time.

"The loss of a child is the most devastating blow any family can suffer," he said.

"Our thoughts go out to Sarah and Gordon Brown in their grief for baby Jennifer."

Messages of condolence have also come from politicians north of the border.

'Heartfelt sympathy'

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Labour Party said: "We are all devastated by this news and like everyone in Scotland our thoughts are with Gordon and Sarah."

Scottish National Party leader John Swinney said: "This is terribly sad news for Gordon and Sarah Brown and the family.

"They will have had such a short time with their daughter and none of us will truly understand the depth of their loss."

The BBC's Andrew Cassell
"Their loss has stunned the couple's friends and colleagues"
The BBC's John Morrison
"The statement confirmed what most people had feared"
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
"I feel so desperately sorry for Gordon and Sarah"
See also:

07 Jan 02 | Scotland
Scotland sends its condolences
28 Dec 01 | Health
Special care for early baby
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