Carl Sargeant had risen to the top tier of Welsh politics before allegations about his personal conduct led to him being sacked just days before he was found dead.
A former process worker at a North Wales chemical plant, Mr Sargeant, 49, was elected to Cardiff Bay in 2003 as Labour AM for the Alyn and Deeside seat.
Until his removal as cabinet secretary for communities and children, he had served in a series of ministerial roles in the Welsh government.
In 2007 he was appointed chief whip of the Labour group before becoming minister for local government.
Roles as minister for housing and regeneration and minister for natural resources followed before being named cabinet secretary for communities and children in May 2016.
The devastation of his local community following the collapse of steelmaking at the Shotton plant in the 1980s, which saw thousands lose their jobs, had inspired a commitment to social justice.
Mr Sargeant witnessed the impact of heavy drinking and domestic violence on families in the area, leading him to campaign extensively on the issue.
A keen football fan, Mr Sargeant was president of FC Nomads of Connah's Quay, the town where he lived all his life and where he was found dead.
He was married to Bernie and they had two children, Lucy and Jack.