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Dame Tessa Jowell has died aged 70

14 May 2018

Tessa Jowell, the former British culture secretary who played a key role in securing the 2012 London Olympics and used her own cancer diagnosis to campaign for better treatment, has died.

The former Labour cabinet minister, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May previous year, died at home on Saturday after falling into a coma on Friday following a hemorrhage.

Baroness Jowell, 70, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May a year ago, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday her family said.

'Her husband David and their children Jessie and Matthew were by her side, with Jessie's husband Finn, Matthew's wife Ella, and David's children from his first marriage, ' the statement added. A statement said: "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".

The former spokesman of Tony Blair told Nick Robinson on BBC The Andrew Marr Show his daughter was "weeping" as the news of Dame Tessa Jowell's death arrived on Saturday.

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Menzies Campbell, who was a member of the Olympic Board which had oversight of London 2012 said Dame Tessa was "universally popular and respected among politicians of all parties".

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He wrote on Twitter: "From Councillor to Cabinet Minister, her achievements were huge, including helping to bring the Olympics to London". She became a staunch ally of Blair and was secretary of state for culture, media and sport from 2001 to 2007. "She brought the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics to London, and ensured their success".

"Tessa is much-loved across the constituency, for the things she delivered but perhaps even more for her deep empathy and compassion, and the way that she worked collaboratively to empower others", she said.

She recently campaigned for more cancer treatments to be made available through the National Health Service.

The heartfelt intervention in January sparked a rare tribute from peers who rose to offer her a standing ovation.

"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".

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She split from her lawyer husband David Mills in 2006 when she admitted being unaware he had paid off part of their mortgage with £350,000 at the centre of a bribery case involving former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. In the process, he said, "she gave hope and opportunity to hundreds of thousands of children".

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the dignity and courage with which Dame Tessa Jowell confronted her illness was "humbling" and "inspirational".

The couple parted after it was said to be damaging Dame Tessa's career, but they were later reconciled.

Sebastian Coe, the president of the IAAF and chairman of the London organising committee of the Olympic Games, described Jowell as "a life enhancer", adding: "Without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were".

On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, Ms. Jowell told those attending a memorial service that her memories of the day were vivid.

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Dame Tessa Jowell has died aged 70