Tributes were paid to Bank of England policymaker David Walton, a former Warwick University student, after his unexpected death on Wednesday night.
The Bank said the 43-year-old economist and father of two sons died after a short illness.
Mr Walton was a member of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee which sets interest rates each month to meet the Government's inflation target.
He was seen as a key "hawk" on the MPC, and was the sole member of the committee to vote for an interest rate rise at the last two meetings, arguing that the risks of higher inflation on the economy were growing.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King said: "All our thoughts are with David's wife, his young children and his parents. David inspired the respect and affection of all his colleagues in the Bank and today's news has come as a shock to us all, as it will to those who knew him in the City, where he made his reputation as an economist."
Chancellor Gordon Brown said he was deeply saddened by the news.
"David Walton made a great contribution to economics and economic policy making in this country and I am deeply saddened by his sudden and early death," he said.
Treasury Minister and longstanding friend Ed Balls said: "It is a loss for the City and for British economics. But for many of us it means the loss of a very good, kind and generous friend. Our thoughts are with David's family at this terribly sad time."
Mr Walton joined the MPC in July last year after working for the Treasury as an economist between 1984 and 1986 and then at Goldman Sachs, where he became chief European economist.
He was appointed by the Chancellor as an external member of the MPC. The committee normally has four external members and five from within the Bank itself.
His death leaves the Bank missing two policy makers out of the nine who usually set interest rates. Richard Lambert recently quit the MPC to join the CBI, succeeding Sir Digby Jones as director general.
Mr Walton was educated at Durham University where he got a BA in maths and economics and at Warwick University where he got an MA in economics. He was also chairman of the Society of Business Economists.