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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 15:25 GMT
MP's brother dies suddenly at 37
Lembit Ípik
Lembit Ípik on the campaign trail in the May 2005 election
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Lembit Opik has spoken of his devastation at the death of his 37-year-old brother from a suspected heart attack.

Endel Ípik, a married father, died on Monday evening.

Mr Ípik, 40, MP for Montgomeryshire since 1997, said his death was a devastating blow and a complete shock.

The MP, the fiancÚ of weather presenter Sian Lloyd, paid tribute to "my friend, my brother and someone who I have respected and loved all my life".

Lembit Ípik said in a statement: "My brother Endel died at 7.30pm on Monday 21, November, 2005. He was 37 years old.

"His death is a devastating blow to me and comes as a complete shock.

"I was very close to him, particularly over the last five years when I shared more with him than I could ever share with anyone else."

The MP said the death would be "very difficult to deal with and may be something that I never get over".

Their parents were Estonian refugees who "fled Stalin" and moved to Northern Ireland.

Mike German, who leads the Lib Dems in the Welsh assembly, said: "It is tragic to lose a close family member at such a young age.

"The thoughts of all the Welsh Liberal Democrats are with Lembit at this very difficult time."

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