Jack Layton dies after fight with cancer
During the last federal election, NDP Leader Jack Layton electrified his supporters by criss-crossing the country while recovering from prostate cancer and campaigning with a broken hip.
But early this morning, he succumbed at home in Toronto from a second cancer. His wife, Toronto-Spadina NDP MP Olivia Chow, and his children, Sarah and Michael, were with him.
Layton was 61.
"Jack was a courageous man," NDP Leader Nycole Turmel said in a statement. "It was his leadership that inspired me, and so many others, to run for office. We—Members of Parliament, New Democrats and Canadians—need to pull together now and carry on his fight to make this country a better place."
She added the Tommy Douglas quote, which Layton included in every email he sent: “Courage my friends, ‘tis never too late to build a better world.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" to hear of Layton's passing.
"I know one thing: Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had," Harper said. "Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight."
Liberal Leader Bob Rae praised Layton for "having a lot of resilience and a lot of guts".
Layton announced he was stepping down on July 25 to fight a new form of cancer. He said at the time that he hoped to return to Parliament in September to fight for Canadian families.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Layton was the son of a Conservative cabinet minister. He was a tireless housing advocate, and as the federal NDP leader, wrote a book called Homelessness: How to End the National Crisis.
After serving for many years on Toronto city council, he became federal NDP leader in 2003 and was elected to Parliament the following year in Toronto-Danforth.
In the 2011 election, Layton achieved a historic breakthrough for his party, winning a record 103 seats and 30 percent of the vote.
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