Kieran Quinn, chairman of the UK’s Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF), died on the evening of 25 December, according to Tameside Council, the pension fund’s administering authority.

He was hospitalised on 23 December following a fall precipitated by a heart attack while out with his wife delivering Christmas cards to constituents.

With £21.2bn (€24.6bn) of assets, GMPF is the largest fund within the UK’s local government pension scheme (LGPS).

Roger Phillips, chair of the LGPS Advisory Board, relayed the news on the advisory board’s website.

“Kieran’s energy, drive, enthusiasm and commitment to the pension scheme and its members will be difficult if not impossible to replace and I will personally greatly miss his support, good humour and friendship,” he said.

Quinn was a member of the LGPS Advisory Board, chairing its investment committee.

In a note posted on the LGPS Advisory Board website, Steven Pleasant, chief executive of Tameside Council and accountable officer, said Quinn made an enormous contribution to the community of Tameside and Greater Manchester, as he was not only chair of the GMPF but leader of Tameside Council and an architect of devolution for Greater Manchester.

“At times of great challenge when clarity of leadership was required Kieran never shied away from the tough decisions,” wrote Pleasant.

“Whether astutely guiding Tameside Council through the most difficult period for local government in living memory, ensuring the GMPF grew into the largest most successful pension fund in the UK against the wider trend of pensions shortfalls or fighting to reduce the north south economic imbalance now widely recognised through the Northern Powerhouse agenda, he always stood up and provided the necessary leadership.

“In all his roles Kieran worked tirelessly for everyone in the community, especially those most vulnerable and in greatest need of a helping hand. It is that which will be his legacy.”

Quinn became chairman of GMPF in 2010, when he also became Tameside Council’s executive leader.

He was appointed chairman of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum in 2013.

GMPF is part of the £35bn Northern Pool, one of the six asset pools emerging across the LGPS. It is a founder member of GLIL Infrastructure, an investment joint venture between five local UK public pension schemes.

Quinn wrote IPE Magazine’s ‘Guest Viewpoint’ one year ago, reviewing what he said was one of the most significant years for local government pensions in recent memory.

He is survived by his wife, Councillor Susan Quinn, and two sons.