NDP leader Jack Layton dead at 61

[attach]4668[/attach]NDP leader Jack Layton died early Monday morning at the age of 61.

The Toronto-Danforth MP and Leader of the Opposition passed away at 4:45 a.m. according to a statement released by his wife Olivia Chow, and his two children Sarah and Michael Layton.

“He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones,” according to the prepared statement.

Layton battled with prostate cancer and a broken hip but in a March interview told the Town Crier that he was feeling better every day.

During May’s federal election, Layton led the New Democratic Party of Canada to a record 103 seats and recognition as the official opposition to the majority Conservative government.

On July 25, a noticeably ill Layton appeared at a press conference to announce that he would temporarily step down as leader of the NDP to take time to deal with a new, unspecified type of cancer. At the time, he said he hoped to return to the position when the House of Commons resumed in September and recommended that caucus chair Nycole Turmel serve as interim leader of the party.

John Gilbert “Jack” Layton, son of former Progressive Conservative MP Robert Layton, was born in Montreal. He served as a Toronto city councillor in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was elected as NDP leader in 2003.

For photos of the memorial outside of Layton’s Toronto-Danforth office [url=]click here[/url].