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13th May 2018

Dame Tessa Jowell has died aged 70

James Dawson

She died peacefully at her family home last night

Labour politician Dame Tessa Jowell has died at the age of 70 after a year-long battle with cancer.

The former cabinet minister was diagnosed with a gliobastoma multiforme brain tumour last May.

She served as MP for Dulwich and West Norwood from 1992 to 2015, featuring in both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s cabinets and playing a large role in bringing the 2012 Olympics to London as culture secretary.

She was nominated for life peerage in the 2015 and has recently campaigned for more cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS. Speaking in the House of Lords in January she received a minute-long standing ovation after a speech on the issue.

A statement from her family said it was “with great sadness, and an enormous sense of loss” that they announce the news of her death.

She died peacefully at the family home near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire shortly after 22:00 on Saturday, the statement added.

Former prime minister Tony Blair said Dame Tessa Jowell was “the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends”. He added: “There was no-one like Tessa and no-one better. I will miss her more than I can say.

“My thoughts and prayers, and those of Cherie and all the family, are with David and her wonderful family of whom she was justly very proud.”

Lord Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF and former chairman of the London organising committee of the Olympic Games, said: “Tessa was not just a close friend, she was a life enhancer.

“Her contribution to the Olympic and Paralympic Games is easily defined – quite simply, without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were.”

Commons speaker John Bercow said: “Tessa was an indefatigable campaigner who translated care from a word to a deed at every turn.

“Passionate, warm and empathetic, she saw the best in everyone and won respect and affection across the political spectrum.”