The Very Reverend Sandy McDonald, a former moderator of the Church of Scotland, has died following a long battle with lung disease.

Dr McDonald, who is the father of Scots actor David Tennant, passed away last night at the Erskine Care Home for ex-servicemen, aged 78.

In 2015 he called on senior church figures to support plans to give terminally ill patients the 'right to die' after revealing that he was battling pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative lung disease.

Dr McDonald, from Bishopbriggs, served as the Moderator for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1997 to 1998.

The Herald's obituary

He also co-presented STV's religious magazine programme, That's the Spirit, during the 1980s and made a cameo appearance alongside his son on Doctor Who.

Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, the current Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: "Dr Sandy McDonald was a wonderful man and minister.

"Genuine love for people was a defining mark of his ministry. He had a special concern for the well-being, at every level, of his fellow-ministers.

"Sandy’s memory will be cherished by many."

Very Rev John Chalmers, the Church’s Principal Clerk, said: "Working with Sandy Macdonald was one of the great pleasures of my career in ministry.

"Sandy would be best described as an enthusiast and the Church of Scotland benefited from that enthusiasm from the day and hour that he committed his life to its ministry.

"It was no surprise to me when Sandy called for a serious dialogue on the right to die, he was a man who tempered his views in the light of reality; he was a man who sat lightly to dogma and who preferred faith in action.

"The Church of Scotland needs a new breed of Sandy McDonalds who catch a passion for the good news of Jesus Christ, but whose understanding of the faith is not frozen in time, but develops and matures with new revelation and understanding."

Dr McDonald worked in the timber trade before studying theology at the University of Glasgow and Trinity College, graduating with a BA from the Open University. The Open University subsequently gave him a doctorate in honour of his work as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

He served as assistant minister at Merrylea Parish Church in Newlands, Glasgow, before moving to St David's in Bathgate and St Mark's Oldhall Parish Church in Ralston.

The Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, Dr McDonald’s lifelong friend, said: "Sandy didn’t just preach. He put his whole self into it— his arms, his voice, his whole body went into his sermons. People loved it when he preached.

"He was a great pastor and he held parish ministry at the heart of the Church."

Dr McDonald is survived by his three children: Karen, Blair and David, and by nine grandchildren.