Dame Tessa Jowell dies aged 70, famous friends pay tribute

Dame Tessa Jowell speaking in the House of Lords

Dame Tessa, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May previous year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday (May 11) and had been in a coma until her death yesterday.

Jowell, who played a prominent role in securing the 2012 Olympics for London when she served as United Kingdom culture secretary, had been campaigning for more cancer treatments to be made available on the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) since she was diagnosed a year ago.

"She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends. Her strength in raising awareness of her illness and fighting for better treatment for others inspired us all". Without her the sporting landscape of the United Kingdom would have looked very different, and so many other tangible legacies left dormant.

Sharing a photo of her with Baroness Jowell, the Prime Minister tweeted: "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".

"My thoughts are with her family".

Dame Tessa gave a moving speech in the House of Lords in January, in which she expressed her hope that "we can live well with cancer, not just die of it".

"As at so many times in her life, she has been an extraordinary driving force for change".

Elsewhere, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "She was quite simply the bravest and the best & brought magic to whatever she touched whether SureStarts, London 2012 or campaigning for those who like her were battling with incurable cancer".

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"She was universally popular and respected among politicians of all parties", he added.

And Rebecca Long-Bailey, who represents Salford and Eccles for Labour, says she was an inspiration to other women.

The former Prime Minister said: "There was no-one like Tessa and no-one better".

"Before the 1997 Labour victory, we worked on a programme to nurture children from the moment of their birth, but crucially also to work with parents and the wider community to transform the lives of those otherwise caught in intergenerational disadvantage".

Her successor in Dulwich, Helen Hayes MP, tweeted: "So very sad at the passing of my friend & predecessor Tessa Jowell who served Dulwich & West Norwood for 23 years. Her determination and sense of humour surrounding them was infectious".

Tessa Jowell, then Britain's secretary of state for culture, media and sport, announces in 2003 the British bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

"The family would like to thank people for the overwhelming support Tessa and they have received since she became ill".

Coe, who is now President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said London 2012 would not have happened without Dame Tessa.

As a government minister and member of the House of Commons with the Labour Party, Ms. Jowell championed programs such as Sure Start, an initiative to improve child care.

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