For many, MP Robert Arrigo was a veteran PN politician who worked tirelessly for his party. But for those who knew him, he was a "great man", "a gentle giant", "a one-of-a-kind politician" and "a good and loyal friend".

Friends, colleagues and acquaintances took to Facebook on Tuesday to express their grief after Arrigo's death was announced earlier in the day.

The former deputy leader of the Nationalist Party died months after being diagnosed with cancer. Despite being ill for some time, many of his friends and colleagues still expressed shock upon learning of the MP's death at 67. 

European Parliament president Roberta Metsola was among those who described Arrigo as a "friend" who always believed in her. 

"From before I took my first steps in politics, he always encouraged me, as he did with everyone.

"Robert taught me that you should never give up. Even when things seem difficult, there is always a solution," Metsola wrote on Facebook alongside a photo of her and Arrigo. 

Former PN leader Adrian Delia also described Arrigo as his friend and admitted he has "no words to speak". 

"I don’t have words to speak. I don’t have enough strength to shout. A gentle giant of a man has left us. A charismatic benefactor who couldn’t live a minute of his blessed life without helping those in need is with us no more

"The world is a poorer place. The heavens [are] now enriched. A gentleman always. A doting husband. An inspiring father. A one-of-a-kind politician for the people. To me always true and loyal, Robert, my friend I will forever remember you dearly," Delia wrote. 

Arrigo had served as Delia's deputy when he was at the helm of the party. 

Meanwhile, Health Minister Chris Fearne also paid his respects, saying that those who say there are no great people left in politics had never met Arrigo. 

Aside from his work in politics, the MP was also known for his contributions to Maltese football, especially his hometown's team - Sliema Wanderers. 

Independent local councillor Steve Zammit Lupi recalled Arrigo's time as Sliema Wanderers president, saying that he continued to help the club even when he was no longer serving as president. 

Also reflecting on his contributions to the sport, the Malta Football Association said Arrigo's death is “another sad loss for the Maltese football family". 

"Robert, you were a true football man! Many people will never forget the emotions during those successful years when you were at the helm of Sliema Wanderers. Certainly, that glorious period at the club will be remembered forever, it is your legacy," the MFA said. 

Having served as its vice-president for some time, the Neptunes Waterpolo Sports Club also paid its respects to the MP. 

"Arrigo will be remembered for his unwavering support of the club, as well as the time he served as club Vice-President for a number of years," the club said. 

President George Vella also sent his condolences to Arrigo's family as did the Malta Tourism Authority. Arrigo was a hotelier by profession and also served as shadow tourism minister in recent years. 

Meanwhile, cancer charity Puttinu Cares said Arrigo was a man of integrity who "taught" a lot of people. Earlier in October, despite his deteriorating health, Arrigo had announced he would be organising a fundraising event in December to collect money for the organisation. 



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