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Scotland's Cardinal Thomas Winning dies

Cardinal Thomas Winning, the outspoken leader of Scotland's Catholics, died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 76, two days after returning home from a Glasgow hospital where he had been recovering from a heart attack earlier this month.

Church officials said it appeared he had suffered a second heart attack.

British politicians and Catholics paid tribute to the cardinal after learning of his passing.

"His strong moral leadership and commitment to social justice were renowned," Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a statement. "His energy, commitment and passionate defense of the core values of the Catholic church and faith were recognized by all."

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, called Winning "an outstanding leader of the church in Scotland and beyond."

"His humour, dedication, utter loyalty and unstinting defense of the Catholic church will long be remembered," Murphy-O'Connor said.

Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, head of the Church of England, said the cardinal had made a significant contribution to Christian leadership.

Queen Elizabeth II said Cardinal Winning had made "a very distinguished contribution to the Catholic Church in Scotland and to Scottish public life over many years and he will be much missed."

The cardinal made headlines in Britain for his views on abortion and homosexuals.

Pope John Paul II made Winning a cardinal in 1994. Hundreds of Scots travelled to Rome to see the ceremony, wearing kilts and accompanied by bagpipers as they celebrated in St. Peter's Square.