Sir Chris Woodhead, former professor of education at the University of Buckingham and Ofsted chief, has died from liver cancer aged 68.
Sir Chris led the education watchdog between 1994 and 2000 before joining the university in 2002.
He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2006 and was awarded a knighthood in 2011.
He is survived by wife, Christine, daughter Tamsin, and three granddaughters.
Sir Chris set up of the pioneering PGCE at the university in 2003 and he published two books.
He was a patron of Dignity in Dying and campaigned for an assisted dying law.
He was a keen runner and rock climber prior to his illness.
Acting vice-chancellor of the university, Alistair Alcock, said: “Professor Chris Woodhead played a critical part in founding the school of education here at Buckingham.
“In a little over a decade, the school of education has moved from being a start-up maverick to a mainstream educator.
“That was only possible because of Chris’s pioneering spirit, a spirit that seemed quite unquenched by his prolonged illness.
“The university and the world of education will miss him.”
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “Chris Woodhead started a crucial debate on school standards and reform. Meetings with him were never dull. My thoughts are with his family.”