Lady Winifred Tumim, former chair of the NCVO, has died unexpectedly aged 73.
Tumim chaired the NCVO between 1996 and 2001 and led the working party on charity law that resulted in the Charities Act 2006.
She was also vice-president of the RNID and had been chair of the organisation from 1985 to 1992. Two of her three daughters were born deaf and she campaigned vociferously both on deaf issues and prisoners' rights.
Tumim also chaired the working group of the NCVO and the Charity Commission that published the On Trust Report into charity governance.
Gerald Corbett, chair of the RNID, said Tumim was a "real champion for the cause of deaf and hard of hearing people and the entire voluntary sector.
"She will be hugely missed by all of us who have benefited from her wise counsel and active urging to strive harder to ensure that those with hearing loss or deafness had the best possible opportunities in life."