Businessman and philanthropist R. Danny Williams has died.

Williams died today, at age 89, at a hospital in Miami, Florida where he had undergone surgery.

n reacting to his death, former prime minister PJ Patterson said he has lost a precious friend and an invaluable political colleague and that Jamaica is now the poorer for Williams’ death.

“He ranks within the highest echelons of committed Leaders who have contributed beyond measure to the growth and esteem of our island. He was a towering giant in the fields of business, education, institution building and deserving charitable causes,” Patterson said.

Williams was the founder of the country’s first Jamaican owned life insurance company, Life of Jamaica, now Sagicor Life Jamaica.

In 2012, Sagicor renamed its corporate headquarters the R. Danny Williams Building in recognition of Williams’ service to the company and its predecessor.

In remembering his former Chairman, Sagicor’s President and CEO, Christopher Zacca stated that “He was deeply loved, respected and admired by colleagues, employees, and industry peers alike for his integrity and compassion. We reflect on his immense contribution to Jamaica and the tremendous legacy he leaves behind.”

Williams also answered the call to political office, and served a senator, as well as junior minister and minister of industry and commerce between 1977 and 1980, in the Michael Manley-led administration.