David Ervine, leader of the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, has died in hospital. Mr Ervine, who suffered a heart attack, a stroke and brain haemorrhage, was 53 and had been on a life support machine for 24 hours. His wife Jeanette and two sons were by his bedside when he died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. The PUP chief was a central figure in securing the 1994 loyalist paramilitary ceasefire. Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a statement that he was "very sorry" to learn of Mr Ervine's death. "David was a man who, whatever his past, played a major part in this last 10 years in trying to bring peace to Ulster," he said. "His incisive wit and clear, if often controversial, analysis of Northern Ireland politics marked him out. Brought up in sectarian politics, he ended up being a persistent and intelligent persuader for cross community partnership and he will be sorely missed." Mr Ervine led the PUP, which is aligned to the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force, since 2002. He became recognised as one of working class loyalism's most articulate voices after coming to public attention following the ceasefire called in response to the Provisional IRA's first halt to its violent campaign. Like some Sinn Fein representatives elected to the Stormont Parliament after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, Mr Ervine moved into politics after being imprisoned for paramilitary crimes. He served time in the Maze Prison near Lisburn, Co Antrim, after being arrested driving a car bomb in 1974. During his time in prison, he studied to Open University degree level and following his release became active in the UVF's political wing. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/08012007/344/unionist-leader-ervine-dies.html Altough his views were frowned upon by some of the Loyalist fraternity,He was one of the better MLA's we had & I thought he was a good one. RIP David, Lets hope your sucessor is as good.