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Scotland's Catholic head dies

Cardinal Winning died from a suspected second heart attack  

GLASGOW, Scotland -- Tributes have been paid to the head of Scotland's Roman Catholic church who has collapsed and died from a second heart attack less than 48 hours after leaving hospital.

Cardinal Thomas Winning, 76, had been following doctors' orders and "taking it easy" at home after suffering his first heart attack a week ago when he died on Sunday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair led the tributes to the cardinal, who was once dubbed `Man of the People' by the Pope who held forthright and controversial views on issues.

"His strong moral leadership and commitment to social justice were renowned," Blair said.

"His energy, commitment and passionate sense of the core values of the Catholic church and faith were recognised by all. He will be greatly missed."

Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish said: "The nation will miss Tom Winning. I will miss him. Scotland has lost one of her greatest sons."

The church's Monsignor James Clancy told a press conference the cardinal had woken up "bright and cheery" on Sunday morning at his home in Newlands, Glasgow, and had just finished breakfast when his housekeeper found him unconscious on his bedroom floor.

Despite efforts to resuscitate him at home and later in Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow, he was pronounced dead just before 10am (0900 GMT).

Close colleagues said the cardinal had been in "fighting spirits" after being discharged from hospital on Friday.

Monsignor Peter Smith, chancellor of the diocese, said: "Just the other day he said that he would rather have a heart attack aged 76 than at 56.

"He was very grateful for his health and said he felt he had been given extra time and that the time given to him with the help of his recent hospital visit was a bonus."

Dr Brian Cowan, of Victoria Infirmary, said the cardinal was discharged because he appeared to have recovered from the first attack and had not complained of any further pain.

"Given his lack of other symptoms, there were no plans for further intrusive treatment," he said.

Bishops in Glasgow said the Pope will ultimately decide who replaces the cardinal.

Cardinal Winning gained international recognition when he offered money and support to pregnant women as an alternative to abortion.

Politically left-of-centre, he was also unflinchingly conservative in church matters.

He spoke out against homosexuality and never offered any support for campaigners for married priests.

• Vatican: the Holy See

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