OTTAWA, Ont. -- A former Conservative member of the Senate has died at the age of 82.

The Prime Minister's Office has confirmed John Lynch-Staunton died yesterday in Pincher Creek, Alta.

The veteran Montreal municipal politician was appointed to the Senate in 1990 by then prime minister Brian Mulroney.

He became leader of the Opposition in the Senate after the Liberals toppled the Conservatives from power in 1993.

He also briefly served as interim leader of the current Conservative Party.

Lynch-Staunton took on the job after the party was formed through merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives in December 2003 and he held the job until Stephen Harper became leader in March 2004.

In a statement Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Lynch-Staunton was a " principled and passionate advocate for Canada" who played a crucial role in uniting Canadian Conservatives.

Lynch-Staunton retired from the Senate in 2005.