LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to his late father Thursday, saying he and his family would "treasure all the joy he brought us."

Ian Cameron, 77, died Wednesday in Toulon, southern France, after suffering a stroke while on vacation. The British leader and other family members arrived at the hospital shortly before he died.

"This was unexpected and sudden, but he was having a wonderful holiday and was with great friends. Above all he was with Mum, to whom he was devoted, and he was happy — and the end came quickly," Cameron and his family said in a statement.

Cameron was returning to Britain on Thursday, his office said.

Cameron's father, a retired stockbroker, had a disability and previously had both of his legs amputated.

"Our dad was an amazing man — a real life enhancer. He never let the disability he was born with or the complications in later life get in the way of his incredible sense of fun and enjoyment," the statement said.

Cameron also offered personal thanks to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who provided a helicopter to transport family members to the Toulon hospital as they raced from Britain to their father's side. Sarkozy also offered the Cameron family use of his French Riviera retreat Fort de Bregancon overnight.

The British leader had returned to work only Tuesday following the birth of his fourth child — Florence Rose Endellion Cameron — on Aug. 24.

Cameron and his wife, Samantha, have two other children, Elwen and Nancy. Their eldest son Ivan, who had epilepsy and cerebral palsy, died last year at age 6.