Former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell dies aged 70

Former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell dies aged 70

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and soccer legend David Beckham are among her admirers offering tributes.

Former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell has died aged 70, her family has said.

"She was an inspiration to work with, and a joy to be near". In the process, he said, "she gave hope and opportunity to hundreds of thousands of children".

Jowell, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor a year ago, remained a member of the House of Lords and used the platform to call for improved information-sharing and better access to medical care.

She was an "inspiring and wonderful person", he said.

In recent months she campaigned for more cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Jowell to coordinate the government's support for survivors and the bereaved.

In a statement released today, her family said: "Tessa, who was 70, was diagnosed with a gliobastoma multiforme brain tumour in May previous year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma since then".

He described her as a "positive life force who never stopped smiling".

In 2008, after the Great Recession struck, costing thousands of jobs, she said: "Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics?"

She was appointed as an Opposition Whip and Shadow Minister for Women while Labour was in opposition, then became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in 2001.

He said her impact on politics was enormous and "everything she touched turned to gold in some way, whether it was advancing equal pay for women, starting Sure Start - which is an huge programme for children in our country - or of course bringing the Olympics to Britain".

This morning party members, journalists and politicians paid tribute to the former MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, remembering her achievements and sharing stories of their memories together.

Labour MPs and others recognised her warm personality, strong sense of compassion and dry sense of humour.

Lord Sebastian Coe, former chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, said there would not have been a London 2012 without the contributions of Dame Tessa.

Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield also paid tribute to her fellow Labour party member.

In 2012 she was made Dame Tessa Jowell in the Birthday Honours for political and charitable services.

"She was always a good communicator, she was very caring, and most importantly not only did she do her job, and do it extremely well, but she brought her humanity with her".

He added: "I kind of can't quite believe she's gone".

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