FREDERICTON (GNB) - Premier Brian Gallant expressed his sympathies upon learning of the passing of former Member of the Legislative Assembly, cabinet minister and premier, Ray Frenette.

"Mr. Frenette has been called a giant of New Brunswick politics, and for good reason," said Premier Gallant. "Not only did he hold several prominent cabinet positions in the government of Frank McKenna, but he also served as house leader for that government for a decade. He commanded great respect, not only from his own MLAs but all parties in the house."

Frenette served as the province's 28th premier, after McKenna stepped down in 1997 and before Camille Theriault took the post in 1998.

His loss will be felt by many New Brunswickers, the premier added.

"On a personal level he served as a mentor and advisor to me when I was first considering getting into public service," Gallant said. "He had so much knowledge and his advice was invaluable. He was generous with his advice and so wise. He understood New Brunswickers and what it meant to represent people in the legislature. Karine and I offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. We've lost a great New Brunswicker."

Frenette served as an MLA in the legislature for 25 years, representing the riding of Moncton East.