Nationalist MP Robert Arrigo has died at the age of 67, a party official has confirmed. 

The former deputy leader of the party was diagnosed with cancer in the summer and had been undergoing chemotherapy.

Just this month, Arrigo announced a charity event for cancer NGO Puttinu Cares.

Party leader Bernard Grech led tributes to the politician, who was also an entrepreneur, president of the Sliema Wanderers football club, and a previous mayor of Sliema. 

"You will be remembered for your valuable work, for your loyalty to the party but above all for the love you had for this nation," the PN leader said.

He said they had met several days ago, despite Arrigo's illness and talked about the way forward for the party. 

Prime Minister Robert Abela also paid tribute to Arrigo, saying parliament will undoubtedly feel his loss.

Arrigo, an entrepeneur who set up tourism company Robert Arrigo & Sons Ltd, entered politics in 1994 when he was elected the first mayor of Sliema.  

He was first elected to parliament in 2003.

He was synonymous with the Sliema Wanderers football club, where he was elected president in 1996, stepping down from the role in 2008. He was also vice-president of Neptunes Waterpolo club. 

Arrigo was credited with helping to turn the Wanderers into a major force in Maltese football.

Elected as a PN deputy leader in 2017, he served alongside David Agius and then party leader Adrian Delia. He did not seek reappointment to the deputy leadership earlier this year, in an acrimonious split with the party’s leadership.

In an interview with Times of Malta in August, he expressed his disillusionment but said he would never abandon the party and continued to have hope for its future.

“There is a solution for every problem in this world. The PN was Malta’s solution for many years and it can become that solution again," he said.

He also talked about his diagnosis of cancer in the summer, stating it had come as "a shock" and described his painful experience with chemotherapy, which he began in July. 

However he said that he continued to look forward to life and the philanthropic projects he had planned. He went on to plan a fund-raising dinner for Puttinu Cares that was scheduled for December 11 to celebrate the month of his birthday and a milestone of 52 years in tourism. 

The NGO described him as "a man of great integrity".

He is survived by his wife Marina and his two sons Alan and Andrew.

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