As we hear in this report from Abka Fitz-Henley, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is leading the tributes.

Shock is reverberating across sections of Jamaica, the region and the world following news of the passing of iconic Jamaican businessman and tourism mogul, Gordon Butch Stewart.

Mr. Stewart died last night in a hospital in the United States.

Shortly after our newscentre broke news after 11:00 last night that Butch Stewart had lost his battle to illness at age 79, Prime Minister Holness appeared on Nationwide 90FM and spoke with Cliff Hughes and described Mr. Stewart as a great Jamaican.

The Prime Minister says the Government of Jamaica is saddened at Mr. Stewart’s passing.

The Prime Minister said Mr. Stewart will be remembered for being a supreme marketer and a nationalist who had global perspective.

Gordon Arthur Cyril Stewart was born on July 6, 1941 in Kingston, Jamaica.

After completing his education in United Kingdom, Mr. Stewart became a salesman and eventually was appointed as a sales manager of Dutch-owned Curaçao Trading Company.

Stewart later left in 1968 to found his own business, Appliance Traders Ltd.

He also also founded The Jamaica Observer newspaper in the early 1990s, the same decade he had bought a majority stake in Air Jamaica.

But perhaps Mr. Stewart will be remembered most across Jamaica and the globe for his success in building the acclaimed Sandals International Resorts brand which has consistent been recognized as the world’s leading all inclusive.

Mr. Stewart was the recipient several national awards including the Order of Jamaica.

For many decades, Butch Stewart wielded tremendous power in private and public sector circles.

He generated a mixture of fear, love and admiration across various sectors of society.

The charismatic businessman will also be remembered for his corporate success and core belief in giving quality customer service.

“A marketing genius, talented showman and gifted entrepreneur

Meanwhile, Butch Stewart’s son Adam, describes his father as a marketing genius, talented showman and gifted entrepeneur.

He says those who knew him best recognized that he was a dreamer who could dream bigger and better than anyone.

In a statement late last night the younger Stewart says his father chose to keep a very recent health diagnosis private and the family respected that wish.

Mr. Stewart says his Dad lived a big life – husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather entrepreneur,
statesman and dreamer.

He says Butch was a singular personality and an unstoppable force who reveled in defying the odds, exceeding expectations and whose passion for his family was matched only by the people and possibility of the Caribbean, for whom he was a fierce champion.

Adam says there will never be another quite like his father and he will be missed forever.

Opposition Leader Hails Stewart says Jamaica has lost one of its most innovative and successful business leaders

And ..Opposition Leader, Mark Golding says Jamaica has lost one of its most innovative and successful business leaders.

Mr. Golding says Mr. Stewart was a truly immense figure on the national and international stage.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is also paying tribute to Mr. Stewart.

The Tourism Minister says the sector is shaken by Mr. Stewart’s death.

Edmund Bartlett.

Another Cabinet Minister, Senator Matthew Samuda, is hailing Mr. Stewart as a man who had an abiding belief in Jamaica.

Minister Samuda says the passing of Butch Stewart is a significant event.

Senator Matthew Samuda

Tributes have also been pouring in on social media from other political figures from both sides of the aisle.

Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton tweeted that Mr. Stewart was a visionary, a Nation builder and an Icon.

In the meantime, the Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Julian Robinson says he’s saddened by the news of Butch Stewart’s death.

Mr. Robinson says he blazed a trail as an entrepreneur and built a legacy of success.