CLARE Drakeford, the wife of the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, has died suddenly, the Welsh Government has announced. 

A spokesman said: “It is with deep sadness that we confirm the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford, wife of the First Minister.

“The thoughts of everyone in the Welsh Government are with the family at this time and we ask that their privacy is respected.”

Drakeford has been First Minister of Wales since 2018 and was reappointed to the post in May 2021.

During the coronavirus pandemic he moved into a building in his garden to protect his wife and mother-in-law, who he said had been shielding.

They have lived in the Pontcanna area of Cardiff for 30 years and have three adult children together.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her condolences on Twitter. 

She said: "My thoughts are with Mark and his family at this terribly sad time. 

"On the occasions I met Clare it was obvious how strong the bond between her and Mark was, and I can only imagine the depth of grief he is feeling. 

"Sending him love and strength." 

The leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price said: 

“My heart is absolutely breaking for @PrifWeinidog after hearing of the sudden passing of his wife, Clare Drakeford.

"I know how close you were and there are no words to describe the pain you must be feeling. My thoughts are with you and your family. We’re all here for you Mark.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer also sent his condolences to the First Minister of Wales. 

In a statement he said: “I’m deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford.”

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“On behalf of the whole Labour Party, I send our deepest condolences to Mark and all the family. I know just how close they were as a couple, and I can only imagine the sense of loss Mark and the whole family are feeling.

“They are all in our thoughts and prayers.”

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Incredibly sad to hear about the sudden death of Clare Drakeford.

"I know how committed Mark and Clare were to each other. I can’t imagine the pain Mark and his family will now be feeling. My heartfelt condolences go out to them."