LONDON: Tessa Jowell, the minister who played a key role in securing and delivering the 2012 London Olympics, has died after battling brain cancer, her family said Sunday.
Jowell played a major part in landing the Games as Britain’s culture secretary. She then became the UK’s dedicated Olympics minister charged with bringing the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza to fruition.
Jowell, 70, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May last year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday, a family spokesman said.
She moved fellow parliamentarians to tears — and a rarely-seen standing ovation — in January when, visibly ill, she returned to her seat in the House of Lords to call for cancer patients to have better access to experimental treatment.
Former prime minister Tony Blair said she was “the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends”.
“What she achieved was remarkable,” he said of her career in government.
“She brought the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics to London, and ensured their success.”
London Olympics chairman Sebastian Coe said: “Quite simply, without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were.
“No politician deserves greater credit for the Games.”
Long after London 2012 finished, she continued to fight for their legacy and without her, Britain’s sporting landscape would look very different, he added.—AFP