The family of UKIP campaigner Jim MacArthur have said they have been “deeply touched” by the huge number of tributes they have received since his death.
Mr MacArthur, aged 70, of Flore, who served in the SAS before becoming a successful businessman later in life, died suddenly last week.
His funeral takes place in Northampton today.
Mr MacArthur stood as the UKIP candidate in the elections last November for the post of Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
He also fought Northampton North in the 2010 General Election and had been intending to stand in Long Buckby ward in the county council elections on May 2.
A statement released by his family, including his wife Janny, daughters Jannine and Georgina and son David, said: “We are all struggling to accept the shock of our father’s passing but have been deeply touched by the huge no of tributes we have received in memory of him.
“It is clear he was immensely well loved both in the county and beyond.”
Mr MacArthur was the chairman of the Northampton branch of UKIP and was co-ordinating the party’s county council election campaign in the town.
Nigel Farage, UKIP party leader, said: “When I heard that Jm had died I was both shocked and saddened. Over the years I got to know Jim well. He was a constant and active member of UKIP and one for whom no effort was too much.
“His commitment to his fellow countrymen and women, his good humour and his constant ideas were a constant. His proudest boast was that he was the oldest special constable in the land. Not at heart.
“What is saddest of all is that he died just moments before UKIP’s best ever result in Eastleigh. How he would have loved that. It was a pleasure and a privilege knowing Jim, I am sure I am not the only one to feel that way”.
Derek Clark, UKIP MEP for the East Midlands, said Mr MacArthur’s death had been a “complete shock” as he had been a very fit and healthy man.
Mr Clark said: “He was an enthusiastic member of the party who ran the local branch with purpose and vigour.”
Mr MacArthur’s funeral will be held at the Counties Crematorium on Friday, March 8 at 3.30pm. Anyone who knew him and would like to pay their respects is invited to attend the funeral.