OTTAWA — Conservative MP Mark Warawa’s family said his “new address is in heaven” on Thursday, announcing his death following a ”brief but valiant battle” with pancreatic cancer.
The statement on his Facebook page gave a final message to his constituents, saying it had been an incredible honour to serve his community — the federal riding of Langley-Aldergrove, B.C., outside Vancouver — since being elected in 2004.
Warawa was a devout Christian and his family said he hoped “that one day he will see you in heaven too.”
The 69-year-old died peacefully at Langley Hospice, his office said in a separate statement.
The House of Commons suspended its morning schedule on Thursday.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Thursday he could not begin to express the sorrow and loss he and his wife feel following Warawa’s death.
“Mark was a true gentleman,” Scheer said. “While his warmth and kindness knew no partisan bounds, his love for his Conservative family was special. The Conservative caucus is devastated. He will be missed dearly.”
Parliamentarians and Canadians also mourn Warawa’s passing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Diane, his five children and 10 grandchildren, his friends and colleagues, and the many people he represented in his riding,” he said.
In April, Warawa announced his diagnosis and in May he gave an emotional farewell to the House of Commons, urging parliamentarians “to love one another, to encourage each other, because God loves us.”
He also used the speech to speak about the need to improve palliative care.
Statistics show between 70 and 84 per cent of Canadians have no access to specialized health care at the end of life, Warawa said, adding the number is “tragic.”
“Science has shown us that you can live longer and (have) a better quality of life, in some cases, if you’re given palliative care,” he said at the time. “But that was not provided to me, those options. Why is that? The system’s broken and needs to be fixed.”