Department for Work and Pension's CIO, Philip Langsdale, has passed away at the age of 56.
Langsdale, who is understood to have died a few days before Christmas, was deeply respected in the industry for his impressive management of difficult IT projects.
Prior to joining DWP in May to oversee the troubled Universal Credit programme, Langsdale served four years at BAA where he led a multi-billion project at Heathrow to improve its real-time systems.
BAA's new CIO Neil Clark emailed employees on the morning of the 24th December saying:
"It is with deep sadness that I have to bring you the news that Philip Langsdale passed away on Saturday 22nd December, the day before before his 57th birthday.He will be remembered fondly by us all."
He added: "I will of course pass our condolences to Philip's wife and daughters."
Malcolm Lowe, chief technology officer at DWP, also tweeted: "So sad to hear Philip Langsdale - CIO at DWP - has passed away. A clever, charming, inspirational man gone too soon."
A spokesperson for the DWP confirmed Langsdale's passing and said that no decision had yet been made as to who was going to take over his role as CIO at the department.