NDP Leader Jack Layton has died at age 61 after a long battle with cancer, CBC News has learned.
Layton died at his home in Toronto early Monday, surrounded by family, according to a statement from his wife, Olivia Chow, and his children, Sarah and Michael Layton.
The leader of the Official Opposition announced on July 25 he was stepping away from the job, a role he coveted and had won only two months earlier, to concentrate on his cancer treatment so he could come back to Parliament in the fall, ready to fight for Canadian families.
Fighting with hope and optimism was a recurring theme in Layton’s life. Long before his battles with cancer, Layton had developed a reputation as a fighter — a determined, goal-oriented, passionate one who would take on a cause and not let go.
In his teens in the 1960s, he led a fruitless bid to have a youth centre built in his hometown of Hudson, Que. Later, as a community organizer and activist in Toronto, and then in his political work, Layton showed a passion for such issues as the environment, AIDS, poverty, violence against women, public transportation and homelessness. Layton also fought for aboriginal issues, and was given credit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008 for his role in shaping the federal government’s apology for the residential school system.