Mangala Samaraweera's untimely demise is a great loss to the nation, the United National Party and to me, personally.
When I telephoned him yesterday afternoon, I told him that I was looking forward to meeting him on recovery.
But it was not to be - as the uncontrolled pandemic raging in the country had claimed his life by this morning (24).
Mangala was an outstanding politician who always stood firm for his convictions which involved a Sri Lanka where all were free and equal and where human rights were upheld.
He had an innovative mind that could think out of the box.
Mangala was also a great communicator who championed reconciliation amongst all our peoples.
In the Cabinet of 2015 to 2019, he was a key figure who handled the portfolios of Foreign Affairs and Finance with immense dexterity.
"Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak;
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust." - Shakespeare
United National Party