Tributes have poured in from across the political spectrum for ex-Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, who has died aged 70. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in May last year and died on Saturday.
Dame Tessa Jowell died in the arms of her husband and two children, her daughter-in-law has revealed.
Ella Mills said the 70-year-old, who died on Saturday after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour in May last year, had been told by her family that she would “live forever” in “their souls.” Ms Mills, who is the wife of Dame Tessa’s son, Matthew, recounted the veteran Parliamentarian’s last moments in a tribute posted online.
A popular figure in Parliament, Dame Tessa played a crucial role in securing the 2012 Olympics for London when she served as culture secretary.She was praised by David Cameron and Boris Johnson, both of whom worked with her to deliver the London Games, and who said she was instrumental in making the event a success.
Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said she was a “remarkable woman” who had sounded a “national call to arms” about the need to spend more on researching the causes of brain cancer.
“She leaves a deep legacy with the potential to benefit many thousands of other cancer patients long into the future,” he said. Dame Tessa earned a minute-long standing ovation in the House of Lords in January for speaking about her condition.
Tessa Jowell once said she’d “jump under a bus” for Tony Blair. She was probably only half-joking. However, her loyalty to New Labour was more than simply tactical or careerist.
She was pro-European and in favour of a mixed-economy when both were deeply unfashionable on the left. Her belief that Labour should “modernise” was passionately held – forged at the coal face of a decade of Labour local activism. Dame Tessa will be remembered at Westminster as someone who managed to be ideologically committed to her cause without overt sectarian bitterness.
Ex-PM Tony Blair said she left an “enormous” legacy as “everything she touched turned to gold in some way”. He and others praised the campaigning she did for more NHS cancer treatments.
Sources: BBC, Guardian, Telegraph