The founder of the British National party (BNP), John Tyndall, was found dead at his home in Sussex this morning, police said.
Mr Tyndall, 71, was a chairman of the National Front before leaving in 1980 and forming the modern day BNP two years later.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Tyndall's death in Hove, which was reported at 08:15 BST this morning.
The veteran of right-wing politics was replaced as BNP leader in 1999 by Nick Griffin, and has enjoyed a stormy relationship with the party ever since.
Mr Griffin and Mr Tyndall were due to appear in court on Thursday in Leeds on race hate charges brought in the wake of an undercover BBC documentary into the BNP.
A spokesman for the party told politics.co.uk that he had been "hounded to his death by the CPS and the police" and suggested his death may have been the result of stress.