Early on Monday morning Jack Layton lost his battle with cancer at the age of 61. He was surrounded by close family and friends.
Layton had recently stepped down as the federal leader of the NDP, the party he had lead to a surge in support making them the official opposition. In the speech he gave just before he stepped down, he appeared thin and his voice was frail. Despite this, Layton remained optimistic stating that he hoped to return to his job in the House of Commons come fall.
Sadly, he did not return. Layton’s family including wife, Olivia Chow and his children Sarah and Michael Layton, issued the this statement following his death:
“We deeply regret to inform you that the Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones.”
In an open letter to all Canadians, that Layton had penned a few days before his passing, he still retained his positive outlook. “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world,” he wrote.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that he was “deeply saddened” by Layton’s passing. “I know one thing: Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had. Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight,” said Harper.
Layton was said to be part of the United Church of Canada.
Read Parliamentary press gallery member Lloyd Mackey’s reflections on Layton’s life, faith & contributions here