Former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell has died aged 70, her family has announced.
Dame Tessa, who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour in May last year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday, a spokesman for the family said.
She died peacefully at her home in Warwickshire surrounded by her family.
Dame Tessa became a tireless campaigner to help people with brain tumours “live better lives for longer” after her diagnosis last May.
She moved fellow peers to tears in recent months as she used the House of Lords as a platform to discuss her condition and call for patients to have better access to experimental treatment.
The family spokesman said: “It is with great sadness, and an enormous sense of loss, that we announce the death of Tessa Jowell.
“She died peacefully at the family home near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire last night, 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 spokesman added: “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 family would like to thank people for the overwhelming support Tessa and they have received since she became ill. They have been touched and moved by the response, in both Houses of Parliament; from members of the public; and other cancer patients and their families around the world.”
There will be a small private funeral in the coming days, and a memorial service open to all at a later date, the spokesman said.
Dame Tessa will be remembered as one of the main political architects of the 2012 London Olympics. It was as Tony Blair’s Labour culture secretary in the early noughties that she championed the capital’s eventually successful bid to host the games, in the face of Civil Service and Cabinet scepticism.
Though losing her Cabinet post in Gordon Brown’s 2007 reshuffle she remained Olympic minister and oversaw every stage of the games from initial bid to competition.
She stepped down from the Commons in 2015.
Ed Miliband, who was Labour leader during the games, said at the time she had left an “enormous” legacy and that the country owed her a “debt of gratitude”.
Former prime minister Tony Blair said: “Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known. She was an inspiration to work with, and a joy to be near. She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends.”
Prime minister Theresa May has said the dignity and courage with which Dame Tessa Jowell confronted her illness was “humbling” and “inspirational”, adding that her campaigning on brain cancer research was “a lasting tribute to a lifetime of public service”.
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.”
Lord David Blunkett said: “Tessa was one of my closest friends for over 40 years.
“Alongside the triumph of helping to win the Olympic Games for London, it will be Tessa as a person who I will remember. There when people needed her, both personally and also with her political hat on, and with her bravery over the last year, always thinking of others.”