Image source, Getty Images

Conservative MP and former minister James Brokenshire, who was diagnosed with lung cancer more than three years ago, has died aged 53.

The Old Bexley and Sidcup MP, a former Northern Ireland secretary, reported a recurrence of a tumour on his right lung earlier this year.

His family called him "a loving father to his three children, a devoted husband" and a "faithful friend".

Mr Brokenshire had been in hospital since his condition worsened on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that his colleague had been "heroic" in his "fight against cancer", adding: "Desperately sad to hear the news about James Brokenshire. James was the nicest, kindest and most unassuming of politicians but also extraordinarily effective."

Mr Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, tweeted: "Truly saddened by the death of James Brokenshire. He was an outstanding public servant, a talented minister and a loyal friend."

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Mr Brokenshire was first elected to Parliament in 2005 as MP for the former constituency of Hornchurch.

He resigned from the cabinet in 2018 following his diagnosis, but later made a comeback to government.

Image source, PA MediaImage caption, James Brokenshire (right) served under Theresa May, as well as David Cameron and Boris Johnson

Chair of the Old Bexley and Sidcup Conservative Association, Evelyn Morrison, who worked with Mr Brokenshire, for 12 years, said: "I'm very devastated. A wonderful, wonderful MP. Lots of integrity. He worked so closely with us."

In a statement, Mr Brokenshire's family expressed their "deep sadness", adding: "James died peacefully at Darent Valley Hospital [in Kent] yesterday evening with family members by his bedside."

"James was not only a brilliant government minister… but a dedicated constituency MP.

"But most importantly, he was a loving father to his three children, a devoted husband to Cathy and a faithful friend to so many."

The family also thanked NHS staff, including those at Guy's & St Thomas' hospital in London, for treating Mr Brokenshire "with such warmth, diligence and professionalism over the past three-and-a-half years".

After his diagnosis, Mr Brokenshire, a former lawyer and non-smoker, worked to promote greater awareness of lung cancer.

Mr Brokenshire served as a Home Office minister from February last year until this July, when he stood back from his duties once more.

Previously, he was housing secretary from April 2018 to July 2019 and Northern Ireland Secretary from July 2016 to January 2018.

Mr Brokenshire's death will prompt a Parliamentary by-election in his Old Bexley and Sidcup seat.