Former Prime Minister, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu has died. The MP for Auki Langalanga passed away mid morning yesterday.

The Solomon Islands Government stated that Mr Ulufa'alu died after a long battle with diabetes. Mr Ulufa'alu was the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands from 27 August 1997 to 30 June 2000.

"Solomon Islands today lost a great hero and a visionary," acting Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo said. "The late Ulufa'alu was a man of great insight, inspiration, courage and personality".

On May 5, 2006, Mr Ulufa'alu became finance minister of the Solomon Islands, and held that position until October 2006. Early in June 2006 Mr Ulufa'alu was reported to be critically ill and had not been in his office for several weeks. After receiving medical treatment overseas Mr Ulufa'alu appeared to have made good recovery and was back in his role as finance minister.

Mr Ulufa'alu had been in politics since being appointed as a legislator in 1976. Mr Ulufa'alu founded the Solomon Islands General Workers Union and was leader at the time of independence in 1978. He later founded the Solomon Islands Liberal Party and was the Parliamentary Leader after successfully winning the election last year.