The dignity and courage of Tessa Jowell was praised by politicians across the spectrum on Sunday, after her family revealed she had died of brain cancer.
Paying tribute to Jowell, Downing Street announced it would double its investment in brain cancer research to £40m and roll out a new gold standard of tests for brain cancer to all NHS hospitals, a key focus of Jowell’s campaigning in the last months of her life.
The prime minister, Theresa May, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the former prime minister Tony Blair led tributes to Jowell on Sunday morning, alongside former cabinet colleagues and MPs who praised her work on Sure Start, a flagship scheme to support children in the early years, her success in bringing the Olympic Games to London and her later campaigning on cancer research.
Dame Tessa was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour in May last year. She suffered a haemorrhage on Friday and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday, a spokesman for the family said.
Jowell died peacefully at the family home near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire just after 10pm on Saturday, with her husband, David Mills, and their children, Jess and Matthew, by her side.
Announcing her death “with great sadness, and an enormous sense of loss”, her family said Jowell had recently undergone some new treatment, but the tumour had suddenly progressed very quickly.
Her daughter-in-law, Ella Mills, said Jowell was “lying in Matt, his sister Jess, and their Dad’s arms, as they told her that she would live forever in the centre of their souls”. Mills, who runs the food blog Deliciously Ella, said Jowell was the “warmest and kindest soul … and she achieved an extraordinary amount – I know her family are the thing that made her most proud.”
May said Jowell had “faced her illness with dignity and courage” and said she hoped the action on brain cancer the government would now take would “form part of the lasting legacy of an inspirational woman.”
Corbyn said Jowell’s “achievements were huge, including helping to bring the Olympics to London”, and said her fight for better brain cancer treatment had been an inspiration.
Tributes flooded in from her former…