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Dame Tessa Jowell dies aged 70, famous friends pay tribute

The former Labour cabinet minister had brain cancer

tessa jowell
Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
May 13, 2018
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Dame Tessa Jowell has passed away, her family have announced. The former Labour cabinet minister, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May last year, suffered a brain haemorrhage on Friday and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday. She was aged 70. The family's statement revealed that Dame Tessa died peacefully at home near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire shortly after 10pm.

"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 read. "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."

tessa jowell cancer

Dame Tessa was diagnosed with brain cancer last May

The statement thanked people for the "overwhelming support" they had shown Dame Tessa and her family, since her diagnosis was revealed. A small private funeral will be held "in the coming days" and a memorial that will be "open to all" will be held at a later date.

MORE: Dame Tessa opens up about cancer

Her daughter-in-law Ella Woodward, also known as food blogger Deliciously Ella, shared the news on Instagram, writing: "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. I've never seen love like I have since becoming part of their family. Tessa was the warmest and kindest soul, she welcomed me so generously into their family, and no matter what she has achieved in her life - and she achieved an extraordinary amount, I know her family are the thing that made her most proud. They were the complete core of her life and I'm honoured to be part of it."

tessa jowell and son© Photo: Instagram

Her daughter-in-law Ella Woodward, who is married to Tessa's son Matt, shared a sweet photo

Tributes have poured in following the sad news. Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair said Dame Tessa was "an inspiration to work with, and a joy to be near". He continued: "She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends." Lord Sebastian Coe, former chairman of the London organising committee of the Olympic Games, praised Dame Tessa for her role as culture secretary in securing the capital city as a host back in 2012. "She showed unflinching tenacity in persuading the prime minister and the cabinet that the government should throw its full weight behind the bid," he said.

tessa jowell kate middleton© Photo: Getty Images

Tessa and the Duchess of Cambridge at the London Olympics

Tributes have also poured in on Twitter, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn writing: "Devastating to hear the news of Tessa Jowell's death. From Councillor to Cabinet Minister, her achievements were huge, including helping to bring the Olympics to London. Her strength in raising awareness of her illness and fighting for better treatment for others inspired us all."

Prime Minister Theresa May shared a photo of herself with Dame Tessa, writing: "The dignity and courage with which Dame Tessa Jowell confronted her illness was humbling and it was inspirational. My sympathies to her loving family - Dame Tessa's campaigning on brain cancer research is a lasting tribute to a lifetime of public service."

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