The former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last May, has died aged 70.
She suffered a haemorrhage on Friday and remained in a coma until her death on Saturday surrounded at home by her family.
While Dame Tessa’s role as culture secretary helped secure the London 2012 Olympics her most recent appearance in the House of Lords may well come to define her political influence.
After a poignant speech in the House of Lords she received a minute-long standing ovation in January for raising the issue of cancer and the desire to see more treatments being made available in the NHS.
In recent months she campaigned for more cancer treatments but her speech in the Lords raised fellow peers to their feet after she said: “In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close.”
She added: “I hope that this debate will give hope to other cancer patients, like me, so we can live well together with cancer, not just dying of it. All of us, for longer.”
Her family said she died peacefully shortly after 10pm on Saturday night at home near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire with husband David and their children Jessie and Matthew and other members of the family by her side.
The former social worker, first stood for Parliament in a 1978 by-election in Ilford North on the Essex-London border, but after losing her seat the following year she was back in Parliament in 1992 as MP for Dulwich and West Norwood.
Dame Tessa was employment minister and minister for women, before joining the cabinet as culture secretary in 2001, and it was during that period she helped bring the Olympic Games to London.
In 2012 she became Dame Tessa Jowell in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and was made Baroness Jowell of Brixton after stepping down from the Commons in 2015.
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