LONDON -- Sir Hugh Fraser, the aristocratic politician whose wife and biographer, Lady Antonia Fraser, left him for playwright Harold Pinter in a much-publicized scandal, died Tuesday. He was 66.
Fraser was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital last week after developing complications from a cyst on his lung. He had been ill for some time.
Fraser, who represented the English Midlands district of Stafford and Stone in Parliament, was a popular member of the Conservative Party who won re-election last summer by a huge majority.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in a statement released by No. 10 Downing St., said she was 'deeply saddened' by Fraser's death.
'He brought to Parliament the style, the skills and the courage of his own brilliant wartime record. It is difficult to imagine Westminster without Hugh. We are made permanently poorer by his passing,' she said.
The British public knew Fraser best because of the scandal involving his ex-wife, Lady Antonia, the best-selling author of 'Mary, Queen of the Scots' and 'Cromwell,' who left him for Pinter.
Actress Vivien Merchant, who cited Lady Antonia in a divorce proceeding against Pinter, claimed her husband was 'possessed by Lady Antonia Fraser -- she has cast a spell over him.'
Sir Hugh at first fought divorce, then had his 20-year marriage dissolved in 1977. The couple, both Roman Catholics, had six children.
Fraser narrowly escaped death in 1975 when an Irish Republican Army bomb intended for him exploded under the wrong car near his home in London, killing his neighbor, one of Britain's leading researchers into childhood leukemia.
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy, was a visitor in the Frasers' home at the time of the bombing.
Fraser was part of an illustrious and colorful aristocratic family - the Lovats -- dating from nearly 500 years ago.
One of his predecessors, Hugh Fraser, was one of the hostages held for ransom by James I in the 1400s. Another Lovat, the 11th lord, was outlawed in the 1700s for having seized the widow of the ninth lord, having a marriage ceremony performed and forcibly consumating the nuptials. He was later beheaded.
Sir Hugh's older brother, Lord Lovat, was a famous wartime commando leader and Fraser himself won the Belgian Croix de Guerre and the Order of Leopold II of Belgium for his wartime actions.
He is not related to another Sir Hugh Fraser who heads Britain's House of Fraser retail chain, which includes London's famous Harrod's store.