Mark Warawa passes this morning in Langley hospice. (Langley Advance files)

UPDATED: Condolences pour forth from community after passing of Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa

The Conservative Member of Parliament and long-time community advocate died in hospice this morning

  • Jun. 20, 2019 12:00 a.m.

Mark Warawa’s battle with cancer has ended.

The MP for Langley-Aldergrove passed away early this morning, after what is being called a “brief but valiant battle” with cancer. He was 69 years old.

“He died peacefully with his loving wife by his side at Langley hospice,” his office reported.

Warawa announced his retirement from politics in January of this year, before his diagnosis in April.

“He embraced this journey as he did most things — with an open heart and prayer,” the release announced.

RELATED: Frankly Speaking – Warawa deserving of thanks

On May 7, Warawa found enough strength to deliver his farewell speech in the House of Commons, which was received with a standing ovation and many tears from his fellow MPs from every party. Proceedings came to a halt after he spoke, as dozens of MPs came to shake his hand.

In his last speech in the House, Warawa emphasized the need for greater compassion in end of life care for Canadians.

He had planned to become a chaplain for seniors and people close to the end of their lives following his planned retirement from politics this October.

VIDEO: Langley’s MP Mark Warawa delivers emotional farewell to House of Commons

On May 21, he made his last public appearance, waving from his car and greeting well wishers in the Fort Langley May Day parade.

Read more: Mark Warawa Remembered

Following news of his passing, MPs from all parties and ordinary citizens alike began sending out messages of condolence.

RECENT: Mark Warawa undergoes cancer surgery

“He was a good man, he was well loved in Langley-Aldergrove,” said Tako van Popta, who was recently chosen by the Langley-Aldergrove Conservative riding association to run as the next candidate following Warawa.

Van Popta knew Warawa for many years, and said his heart goes out to Warawa’s wife Diane and all his family.

“It’s sad for me personally, it’s sad for the people of his riding,” he said.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer spoke of being elected with Warawa in 2004, and of “learning the Ottawa ropes together.”

“I cannot begin to express the sorrow and loss Jill and I feel today at the passing of MP Mark Warawa,” Scheer said in a statement.

“Mark was an example to which all Parliamentarians should aspire. A respectful contributor to the debate, a fierce advocate for his constituents, and a strong defender of his principles,” said Scheer.

He called Warawa “a true gentleman,” and said the Conservative caucus was devastated by his loss.

“Most of all, Mark was an exemplary family man – endlessly devoted to his wife Diane, his five children, and 10 grandchildren. Jill and I are praying that God will comfort Mark’s family at this time.

Langley’s mayors also remembered Warawa’s legacy.

“Mark Warawa was a great man who served his community and his country with love and compassion,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese.

“With Mark, you always knew where he stood,” Froese said. “He was one of those people who gave politicians a good name.”

“We were truly blessed to have Mark in this community,” said City Mayor Val van den Broek, calling him a great leader.

Both mayors extended their condolences to Warawa’s family, as did Langley School Board Chair Megan Dykeman.

“He was a dedicated, generous and community-centred man, and his contribution to the Langley community was immeasurable,” Dykeman said.

Warawa began his public life as an Abbotsford City councillor, serving for 14 years.

He then moved to the federal arena, winning the election as the Conservative candidate for the newly formed electoral district of Langley in June 2004.

He was re-elected five times, the last time in October 2015, in the new electoral riding of Langley-Aldergrove.

His staff describe Warawa as a devoted husband to his wife of 46 years, Diane, and father to their five children: Jonathan, Ryan, Nathan, Eric and Kristin. He was also a grandfather to 10 grandchildren.

Messages of condolence can be sent:

• By mail to the constituency office at 104-4769 222nd St, Langley, BC, V2Z 3C1

Or

• By email to mark.warawa@parl.gc.ca

A book of condolences is available for signing at the constituency office.

Details for Warawa’s funeral service will be announced shortly.

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