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NDP Leader Jack Layton Loses Battle With Cancer

Federal NDP Leader John Gilbert “Jack” Layton lost his second battle with cancer early this morning, at the age of 61. On July 25, Layton had temporarily stepped down as leader of the country’s Opposition, saying that doctors had diagnosed him with a new type of cancer. Despite his latest health problems, the charismatic politician had intended to return when Parliament resumed next month.

The NDP issued a statement on behalf of Layton’s wife Olivia Chow, and his children Sarah and Michael Layton.

“We deeply regret to inform you that The Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 a.m. today, Monday, August 22,” the statement said.

“He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones.”

In 1969, Layton received his BA in Political Science at McGill University and earned a PhD in Political Science at York University. He later on became a professor at Ryerson University in the 1970s.

Jack married his high school sweetheart, Sally Halford, in 1969, and the couple had two children — Mike and Sarah — before their divorce in 1983. He married his second wife, Olivia Chow, in 1988.

The greatest success of his 30-year political career came in May’s federal election when the NDP became Canada’s Official Opposition. Layton was leader of the NDP from 2003 to 2011.

He will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality as much as his political contributions.

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