UK's Former Culture Secretary Has Died At Age 70

Dame Tessa Jowell proudly holding her Dame Commander insignia

Dame Tessa Jowell proudly holding her Dame Commander insignia

Tessa, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May previous year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday night.

Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: "The dignity and courage with which Dame Tessa Jowell confronted her illness was humbling and it was inspirational".

"If anyone wants to know what politics can achieve they can just look at her life and how she lived it, and how she ended it as a testimony to all that's best in politics".

FORMER Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell has died, her family has announced.

"She was universally popular and respected among politicians of all parties", he added.

It was as Tony Blair's Labour culture secretary in the early noughties that she championed the capital's eventually successful bid to host the games, in the face of Civil Service and Cabinet scepticism. She was the first senior politician fully to understand the importance of public health and to shift health policy towards prevention of illness and not only cure.

He said her impact on politics was enormous and "everything she touched turned to gold in some way, whether it was advancing equal pay for women, starting Sure Start - which is an huge programme for children in our country - or of course bringing the Olympics to Britain".

More tributes to follow...

"Her determination and sense of humour surrounding them was infectious", he tweeted.

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She took on the job of convincing unsure colleagues about the merits of hosting the Olympics in 2012.

Mr Blair said Dame Tessa was "the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends".

According to a statement from her family, Jowell died peacefully at her family's home Saturday evening.

In addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in recent months doctors tried innovate new treatments which "Tessa gladly embraced".

"It was a hard enough process at the best of times, but that structure she put in place then weathered the financial crisis (of 2008) and then allowed us in the end to still deliver the Olympics on time and under budget". The family said the funeral would be small and private, but a memorial open to all would be held later.

The food writer, Ella Woodward, who is married to Dame Tessa's son, wrote on Instagram: "Matt's extraordinary Mum passed away last night". She was lying in Matt, his sister Jess, and their Dad's arms, as they told her that she would live forever in the centre of their souls.

"The family would like to thank people for the overwhelming support Tessa and they have received since she became ill". Tessa was the warmest and kindest.

Though losing her Cabinet post in Gordon Brown's 2007 reshuffle she remained Olympic minister and oversaw every stage of the games from initial bid to competition.

She later stood to be Labour's candidate for mayor of London in 2016 but lost out to Sadiq Khan.

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