CANADA – Canada’s Senate has lost its speaker, Pierre Claude Nolin, who died at the age of 64 Thursday, five years after he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, a Senate spokeswoman revealed.
Nolin, who became Speaker of the upper chamber last November, died just after 7 p.m. Thursday, leaving the Canadian Senate without a leader in the midst of its greatest crisis.
It was Nolin who announced the he had a rare form of cancer when he was diagnosed in 2010. He also revealed details of his treatment in recent years.
“We are all going to die. I’m not afraid of that,” Nolin replied when asked if he was afraid of dying.
Nolin’s death was officially announced by the Senate in a statement released to journalists in the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
“The Office of the Speaker of the Senate wishes to inform you that the general state of health of the Speaker has seriously deteriorated over the past 24 hours,” said the statement.
“His family is with him, and wishes to watch over him in privacy.”
Nolin’s death comes in the midst of the trial of disgraced Senator Mike Duffy for allegedly filing fraudulent living and travel expenses claims.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to Twitter to express his condolences to Nolin’s family.
“Laureen and I join with all Canadians in offering our thoughts and prayers to Senator Nolin and his family at this difficult time,” Harper said.
Governor General David Johnston also posted Nolin’s death in his Twitter account.
“I’m saddened by the passing of Senate President Pierre Claude Nolin after his battle with cancer. My sincere condolences to his family,” Johnston wrote.
Nolin was born in Montreal, Quebec, and attended the University of Ottawa. He received a Degree in Law in 1975.
In 1976, Nolin married Camille Desjardins. They have three children—Simon, Louis and Virginie.
Nolin was a key Quebec backroom supporter and organizer for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney beginning with Mulroney’s first attempt to become Progressive Conservative party leader in 1976.
He was appointed to the Canadian Senate at Mulroney’s recommendation on June 18, 1993. – BusinessNewsAsia.com