Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick led the tributes to Margo MacDonald with a superbly apposite quote.
She said: "Margo MacDonald was brave, passionate and committed. To be known and recognised by a first name is reserved to very few. But everyone knew Margo. She had a rare skill in being able to translate political speak into language we could all understand.
"She was a sparkling jewel in the Scottish Parliament, her contributions were incisive, intelligent and always got to the heart of the issue under discussion.
"Margo cared about people and, in return, they cared about her.
"My heartfelt sorrow and our condolences from across the parliament go out to her husband and her family at this time."
Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont said: "Margo's passing sees a bright light, and one of the biggest personalities and characters of Scottish modern political life, go out.
"Her sense of humour, passion, integrity and unflinching desire to speak truth to power, meant she came as close to a political treasure in Scotland as I think it is possible to be.
"As one half of a formidable political union with Jim, she was a trailblazer in many ways. The fact that she was elected and returned as an independent by the people of Lothian, a rare feat in national politics, shows how she had become part of our political fabric. Her loss leaves Parliament, her much-loved Leith and her family, with a very large and painful gap which can't be filled.
"Her passion for self-determination, in all its senses, meant that she often crossed swords with many political foes. But her unwavering belief in that right saw her continue to press her case. Even when we disagreed, she would always conduct herself in a way in which you understood that her overwhelming motivation was one of improving humanity. We could have a political argument, but you could never fall out with Margo. That was a tremendous tribute to her. In all the turmoil of political debate, there were innumerable examples of her personal kindness to everyone.
"My heart goes out to Jim, her children Petra and Zoe and her grandchildren. They will, I hope, take comfort from all the voices celebrating Margo's life and offering them our love and prayers. Margo's passion and integrity inspired us all. Her legacy will be remembered for years to come. Scotland has lost one of its proudest daughters. A family has lost a wife and mother. Parliament has lost one of its biggest personalities and voices. Today, we mourn her loss, but we must also celebrate her life."
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson described Ms MacDonald as being "a huge figure in Scottish politics and a complete one-off".
She added: "She sat as an independent, and independent she was - independent of thought, independent of mind and independent of spirit.
"From prostitution to assisted suicide, she was willing to champion difficult, challenging and morally complex issues to ensure they got the parliamentary consideration they deserved."
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "Margo was a force of nature in Scottish life. The affection for her transcends party politics and political parties.
"Her personal kindness and professional charm will be missed in the Parliament, throughout the Lothians, and far wider."
Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, said: "There will never be another Margo. She was held in great affection and respect by everyone who came in contact with her, regardless of their political views. She was a very distinguished parliamentarian but, much more than that, Margo will be remembered for her great humanity and concern for her fellow citizens.
"She was one of the best-loved champions of the national movement for independence, a cause for which she campaigned vigorously and very passionately for all of her adult and political life. She had a formidable intellect and was an extremely accomplished debater, but what endeared her to so many was her warm personality, her natural ability to communicate and - of course - her great sense of humour.
"In the 25 years that I knew her, first as a colleague at STV and more recently as a fellow campaigner for a Yes vote, she was always good company and a source of great energy and ideas. My thoughts are with Jim and the family at this very sad time."
Better Together Leader Alistair Darling said: "Margo was one of the warmest and most compassionate women I ever met. She was also one of the most determined and formidable Scottish politicians of her generation. I shall miss her very much. My thoughts are with Jim and the family."
Katherine Crawford, director for Parkinson's UK in Scotland, said: "Put simply, Margo MacDonald was an inspiration to all she met and I am deeply saddened by her passing.
"It has been our honour to work with Margo over the last few years and we could not help but admire her bravery in living with the daily challenges of Parkinson's.
"Margo had immense heart, and her undeniable intelligence, personality and humour touched all of those she met."
Former Labour First Minister Lord Jack McConnell said: "Margo MacDonald was a very special individual. She inspired and advised me many times in my adult life and her contribution to Edinburgh and to Scotland will never be forgotten. She was the free-est of free spirits but a conviction politician right to the end."
Gordon Wilson, former SNP leader and colleague, said: "Today with her passing, much of the colour has gone from Scottish politics and the Scottish Parliament. It is a shame she did not live to enjoy casting a yes vote in the referendum or for that matter commenting on the outcome."
Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said: "Margo won't now see the culmination of two debates she was deeply involved in; the referendum on Scotland's independence, and the Assisted Suicide Bill which she introduced last year.
"But as both these debates continue, I am certain that campaigners on all sides will recognise Margo MacDonald's contribution to Scottish public life, her vibrancy and her passion."
Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary, said: "She was a passionate fighter for all she believed often taking on issues that others shied away from. You could disagree with her but never fall out with her and if she chided you it was always with the best intent and with a fair degree of humour."
Councillor Andrew Burns, leader of Edinburgh City Council, said: "Edinburgh and indeed Scotland have today lost one of our finest public servants. She was truly one of a kind, both passionate and courageous."
David O'Neill, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Margo MacDonald. A character who will be sorely missed by all those who knew her and a real loss to Scottish public life."
A spokesman for the Humanist Society Scotland said: "Throughout her political career she represented her constituents, and the many causes in which she believed, with passion and dignity.
"The HSS supported her first attempt to make assisted suicide legal, back in 2010, and we will continue to campaign in support of the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill in her memory, but our thoughts are now with her family and friends."
Bruce Beveridge, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "She was hugely influential and committed to the causes she passionately believed in, such as Scottish independence and assisted suicide legislation, and she will sadly now not see the outcome of these two debates.
"She was a vibrant and important figure in Scottish public life and a staunch supporter of the Scottish legal profession, shown by being a judge for many years for the Scottish Legal Awards.
"She will be very sadly missed and her loss will be keenly felt across the political spectrum."