A CONTROVERSIAL UKIP councillor has died aged 30 just weeks after accepting his life was at risk due to chronic alcoholism which saw him drinking up to 70 units a day.

Councillor David Potts passed away at his home in West Boldon, South Tyneside, on Sunday surrounded by his close family.

He had been ill for some time and had only recently been allowed home from the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where he was being treated for cirrhosis of the liver.

Earlier this year, Coun Potts spoke of his battle with alcoholism and acknowledged that he would die if he didn't stop drinking.

Political colleagues have hailed him as an immensely talented man who once seemed destined for a Westminster career.

Coun Potts, who represented Cleadon and East Boldon for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), revealed he was battling with alcoholism in February.

He admitted drinking up to 70 units of alcohol a day, the equivalent of more than two bottles of spirits.

His drinking, which regularly involved downing a bottle of vodka before work and up to eight gin and tonics at lunchtime, led to several spells in rehab.

Speaking from his hospital bed at the time, he said: "I have to stop drinking.

"If I don't I will die, it is as simple as that."

Controversy followed him both in and out of council life.

Tributes to Coun Potts have been paid by leading political figures in the borough.

South Tyneside Council leader Coun Iain Malcolm said: "David Potts was an immensely talented and highly-educated young man who seemed destined for a Westminster career, but whose life took a tragic turn as he battled his alcohol addiction.

"He had a wicked and sometimes mischievous sense of humour, which I shall miss.”