Tributes have been paid to Mike Pittilo, the principal and vice-chancellor of The Robert Gordon University, who died in the early hours of this morning.
Professor Pittilo, who was 55, had been suffering from cancer for some time, but had continued to work until last week.
In a statement, the university says “the suddenness of his death has been a shock for everyone”.
Sir Duncan Rice, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, described Professor Pittilo’s death as a “great loss to the world of higher education”.
He praised the enthusiasm, dedication and leadership he had shown at the helm of Robert Gordon, which is also based in Aberdeen.
“Mike’s leadership was outstanding,” Sir Duncan said. “The North-East and Scotland have much to be grateful to him for… Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”
John Harper, acting principal of Robert Gordon, said: “We’ve lost an inspirational leader who will be sadly missed, not only for the direction he brought to the university, but also the warm rapport he had with both staff and students.
“Our thoughts are very much with his wife Carol at this time.”
Professor Pittilo joined the university in 2005 following a career in the life sciences.
He was awarded an MBE last year for services to health.