GLENEAGLES chef Andrew Fairlie has died aged 55 after a long-term battle with a brain tumour.

He had been fighting the illness since 2005 with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, but retired last year after told no more treatment was available.

Andrew's wife Kate Fairlie and his daughters, Ilona and Leah, on behalf of the family, said: "We are utterly heartbroken that Andrew has gone, but are so thankful we had this extraordinary man in our lives.

"He was a beautifully kind, generous, loving son, father, husband, brother and friend, and enriched the lives of anybody lucky enough to meet him."

His father Jim Fairlie wrote online: "It is with enormous sadness and grief that Kay and I announce the death of our beloved son Andrew.

"His wife Kate and his family have kept vigil with him for some weeks. He slipped away quietly this morning but his many achievements & memory will live on."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also among tributes which flooded in for the Scots chef.

She tweeted: "I’m so sorry to hear that Andrew Fairlie has died. My deepest condolences to his family. Andrew is gone far too soon, but his achievements will always be remembered and his legacy will inspire the next generation of world-class chefs. It was a privilege to know him."

TV chef James Martin also wrote: "Today we lost one of our very best. A great chef, gentleman and a fighter who has taught me a lot over the years, none more so than over the past few years.

"My team and I send all their love and thoughts to his family and friends."

Officials at Celtic FC also offered condolences to the "passionate Celtic man".

Andrew Fairlie was born in Perth and began training aged 15 under chief Keith Podmore. 

At 20, he was awarded the first Roux Scholarship, which gave him the chance to train with French chef Michel Guerard at Les Pres d’Eugenie in Les Landes. 

Andrew worked across the UK before returning to Scotland, where he opened up Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at the Gleneagles Hotel and Resort in 2001.

The restaurant received its first Michelin star eight months after opening, followed by its second in 2006. That same year, Andrew was named AA Chef's Chef of the Year. 

He was also named a Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef, one of only seven in the UK, in November 2011. 

After being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005, Andrew continued working but stood down last year when doctors told him no more treatment was available.

Speaking about his decision to retire, the chef told The Times: "Giving up my restaurant kitchen was the hardest part.

"The fact that I'll never be back, never have that buzz and atmosphere of the kitchen again, was very emotional."

His restaurant's current head chef Stephen McLaughlin and general manager Dale Dewsbury also released a statement lamenting the loss of their "colleague, mentor and friend".

It read: “We are heartbroken that Andrew has gone, and our thoughts go out to Andrew’s wife, Kate, and his family.

"Our sadness is matched only by our tremendous pride in all his achievements, and our thankfulness that we had the opportunity to share in his life and career.

"We have lost our colleague, mentor and friend who was always on hand with great judgement, humour and inspiration.

"We will miss him terribly, but will take strength and huge pride in continuing to burn the flame of outstanding cuisine, service and culture that he established.”

A private funeral for Andrew is to take place, followed by a memorial service at Gleneagles later this spring.