Tessa Jowell, former Labour cabinet minister, dies aged 70

The former cabinet minister Tessa Jowell has died aged 70, her family has said.

Dame Tessa was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour in May last year. She suffered a haemorrhage on Friday and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday, a spokesman for the family said.

The prime minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former prime minister Tony Blair led tributes to Jowell on Sunday morning, alongside former cabinet colleagues and MPs who praised her work on Sure Start, a flagship scheme to support children in the early years, her success in bringing the Olympic Games to London and her later campaigning on research.

Jowell died peacefully at the family home near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire just after 10pm on Saturday with her husband David and their children Jessie and Matthew by her side.

The family announced the death “with great sadness, and an enormous sense of loss”.

“In addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in recent months doctors tried innovative new treatments which Tessa gladly embraced, but sadly the tumour recently progressed very quickly,” they said in a statement.

“The family would like to thank people for the overwhelming support Tessa and they have received since she became ill. They have been touched and moved by the response, in both houses of parliament; from members of the public; and other cancer patients and their families around the world.”

There will be a small private funeral in the coming days and a memorial service open to all at a later date.

May paid tribute to Jowell on Sunday, praising her “lifetime of public service”.

 

 

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