Cllr Sue Murphy died on Tuesday, prompting tributes from her colleagues at Manchester City Council.
Murphy, who was first elected to the city council in 1995, had been deputy leader of the council since 2010. Before that, she served as executive member for employment and skills, and executive member for finance.
She served Manchester in a range of other capacities, including as a member of the board of Manchester Health & Care Commissioning Group, and as chair of trustees for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund established after the 22 May 2017 terror attack.
Murphy was also chair of governors of the LTE Group, which includes Manchester College, and was made a CBE for her services to the city in 2015. She is known especially for her work to tackle homelessness and social poverty.
She died from an ongoing illness that was not related to coronavirus.
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said in a statement: “Manchester has lost a great socialist and public servant who dedicated her life to social justice and making the city, and the world, a better and fairer place for everybody – but especially those with the greatest needs.
“Over the years she has taken on many roles, locally and nationally, including some of the most challenging issues we face as a society – tackling homelessness and the scourge of family poverty being just part of her council portfolio.”
He added: “I have lost a friend and colleague who has been alongside me for over a quarter of a century, for the last ten years as my deputy leader. The loss is a devastating shock.”
Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council, added: “Sue was a committed champion for women, for diversity and for the vulnerable through her work on tackling homelessness and poverty.
“She was a much-loved and well-respected figure and her loss will touch many of our staff and community members deeply.
“She really helped drive forward innovative new ways of working in the council as we look to work ever more closely and constructively with our communities.”