THE police officer shot and blinded by Raoul Moat has been found dead at his home in Northumberland.
Police attended the home of PC David Rathband at around 7pm last night after concern for his welfare but when they arrived he was found dead inside.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "At around 7pm on February 29 officers received a report of concern for the welfare of PC David Rathband at his home in Blyth.
"Officers attended alongside the ambulance service and PC Rathband was found inside.
"He was declared dead at the scene.
"A police investigation is underway."
PC Rathband was left for dead by gunman Raoul Moat in July 2010.
He was shot at close range in his patrol car, on the roundabout linking the A69 and A1, and blinded before Moat went on the run in Rothbury.
His bravery, courage and determination was rewarded in September that year when he won Northeast Press's (publishers of the Northumberland Gazette) Pride of Northumberland Role Model Award.
At the ceremony he wore his police suit for the first time since the attack and vowed to get back to work.
Northumbria Police's Chief Constable Sue Sim paid tribute to PC Rathband last night.
She said: "I am deeply saddened to have to confirm the death tonight of PC David Rathband and my thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.
"In July 2010 his life changed forever when he was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat.
"David showed oustanding bravery in what was a terrifying situation.
"He was a dedicated officer who acted in the best traditions of the police service."
The coroner has been informed about his death.