The former Federal Chancellor, Annemarie Huber-Hotz, has died following a heart attack, aged 70.
Her family said Huber-Hotz suffered a heart failure during a hiking trip on Thursday.
Huber-Hotz was elected to the post by parliament in 1999 and served until 2007 as chief manager of the seven-member Swiss government.
She was the first woman to be chosen as Federal Chancellor in modern Swiss history. The position is a political appointment but has only a technocratic role.
After her retirement, Huber-Hotz was president of several non-governmental organisations and charities, including the Swiss Red Cross and the Swiss Benevolent Society. She was also a vice-president of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
In a first reaction, the Swiss governmentexternal link has praised Huber-Hotz for her efficiency in supporting the cabinet, her patience and generosity.