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UK's former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe dies; had faced conspiracy to murder charges

  • FILE - In this file photo dated Sept. 22, 1973, Jeremy Thorpe, Liberal Party leader spreads his arms, responding to a standing ovation at the end of the Liberal Party's annual conference at Southport, England, with Thorpe's wife Marion, the former Countess of Harewood, left.  It is announced Thursday Dec. 2014, that Thorpe has died aged 85. Tributes have been paid to former Liberal Party leader Thorpe, who fought for investment in his beloved North Devon area of England, and against apartheid in South Africa, but his political career was ended by a court case and alleged homosexual relationship, which was illegal at the time.  (AP Photo/Lawrence Harris, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Sept. 22, 1973, Jeremy Thorpe, Liberal Party leader spreads his arms, responding to a standing ovation at the end of the Liberal Party's annual conference at Southport, England, with Thorpe's wife Marion, the former Countess of Harewood, left. It is announced Thursday Dec. 2014, that Thorpe has died aged 85. Tributes have been paid to former Liberal Party leader Thorpe, who fought for investment in his beloved North Devon area of England, and against apartheid in South Africa, but his political career was ended by a court case and alleged homosexual relationship, which was illegal at the time. (AP Photo/Lawrence Harris, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo dated 1975 portrait of Britain's Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe. It is announced Thursday Dec. 4, 2014, that Thorpe has died aged 85. Tributes have been paid to former Liberal Party leader Thorpe, who fought for investment in his beloved North Devon area of England, and against apartheid in South Africa, but his political career was ended by a court case and alleged homosexual relationship, which was illegal at the time.  (AP Photo/Lawrence Harris, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated 1975 portrait of Britain's Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe. It is announced Thursday Dec. 4, 2014, that Thorpe has died aged 85. Tributes have been paid to former Liberal Party leader Thorpe, who fought for investment in his beloved North Devon area of England, and against apartheid in South Africa, but his political career was ended by a court case and alleged homosexual relationship, which was illegal at the time. (AP Photo/Lawrence Harris, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

Former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe has died at age 85, decades after the British politician was acquitted of conspiracy to murder charges.

His son announced Thorpe's death Thursday. The former leader was praised by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and other party stalwarts for helping revive the party now known as the Liberal Democrats.

Clegg said Thorpe's "leadership and resolve" played a vital role in the party's fortunes.

Thorpe had been out of the public eye since he was cleared of the serious charges in his 1979 trial. He had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for more than 30 years.

He enjoyed a successful political career that was cut short by scandal after he was accused of conspiracy to murder charges in the death of former male model Norman Scott.