The wife of Conservative former cabinet minister Owen Paterson has been found dead at their family home, the MP has said.
In a statement, Mr Paterson said the loss of his wife Rose had come as a "terrible shock" to the family.
"It is with great sadness that I must inform you that my wife, Rose, has been found dead at our family home in Shropshire," he said.
"Rose and I were married for 40 happy years. She was a wonderful, caring wife, mother and grandmother.
"Her death has come as a terrible shock to us all. I would ask the media to respect the privacy of myself and my family at this extremely difficult time."
Rose Paterson, the daughter of the fourth Viscount Ridley, was the chairman of Aintree Racecourse. The couple married in 1980 and had two sons and a daughter.
The cause of death has so far not been revealed.
West Mercia Police said: "We can confirm the body of a woman has been found in woodland near Pant Lane in Sodylt in Ellesmere.
"The death is currently being treated as unexplained. However, at this stage there is believed to be no third-party involvement."
Paying tribute to Mrs Paterson, the Jockey Club – where she was one of the Board of Stewards – described her as a “wonderful person”.
Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of The Jockey Club, said: “This is tragic news and our thoughts go out to Rose’s husband Owen and all members of her family.
“Rose was a wonderful person and involved in so many aspects of our sport. She was a skilled Chairman at Aintree, a valued member of our Board of Stewards and headed up our Horse Welfare Group. She also enjoyed participating at grassroots level over many years.
“We appreciated her contribution very much and my fellow Stewards and I looked forward to hearing her sound views on a subject, where she was always sensitive to the best course of action for racing. She will be missed greatly for the person she was.”
In March Mrs Paterson reacted to the cancellation of the Grand National due to the coronavirus pandemic by vowing it would return in 2021 "bigger and better than ever before".
She wrote in a letter: "The Grand National has been with us for nearly 200 years; it has survived world wars, bomb scares and many other vicissitudes and it will be back again next year, bigger and better than ever before."
Mrs Paterson was this week named by The Times in a planning row centred on Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
The paper claimed Jenrick ruled on an appeal by the Jockey Club, where Mrs Paterson sits as a board member, for permission to build hundreds of homes and a hotel at the Sandown Park Racecourse in Surrey.
The application had been rejected by Elmbridge Borough Council but Jenrick “intervened to recover the appeal and determine it”, according to The Times.