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Former Conservative minister Lord Tebbit said Lord McAlpine, who has died aged 71, was "deeply upset" by the recent incorrect allegations about his private life.
Lord Tebbit told the BBC: "He had always got something interesting to say. A very cultured man, very interested in the arts, also much-travelled.
"He seemed to find a quite natural home in Italy in recent years."
Lord McAlpine was falsely implicated in abuse allegations following a BBC Newsnight investigation.
Lord McAlpine was a "man of integrity" who made a huge contribution to public life, Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has said.
The former deputy Conservative Party deputy chairman died last night in Italy at the age of 71.
"Lord McAlpine made a huge contribution to public life," Mr Shapps said.
"He was a man of integrity who had a successful career in both politics and business.
"He was a towering figure during the Thatcher era who did much for the Conservative Party and our country.
"My thoughts are with his friends and family."
David Cameron has paid tribute to Lord McAlpine who has died at the age of 71.
The former Conservative Party deputy chairman died last night in Italy, his family confirmed.
Former Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord McAlpine has died aged 71, his family has announced.
Lord McAlpine, who was previously an aide to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, died last night in Italy, his family said.
They said in a statement, "It is with great sadness that the family of Lord McAlpine announce his peaceful death last night at his home in Italy."
Former Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord McAlpine has died, his family has announced.