Former Dulwich and West Norwood MP Dame Tessa Jowell has announced she is battling brain cancer.
Since her diagnosis in May, Tessa has undergone surgery and is now receiving further treatment.
News of her diagnosis went public on Monday, as her family celebrated her birthday. Tessa’s son Matthew and his partner – food writer Ella Woodward – posted a family photo online with the message: “The last few months have been some of the hardest of our lives…
“We’re all pledging to try and do everything we can to make people’s lives with cancer better for longer.”
Helen Hayes, who became MP of Tessa’s old seat in 2015, told the News: “It’s very, very sad and shocking. Tessa was hugely loved and respected across the whole of Dulwich and West Norwood, which she served for 23 years.
“Everyone is wishing her all the very best in battling this horrible disease.
“We have been in touch, and she seems in good spirits and is focused on getting through this round of treatment.
“One thing lots of people have said have said is her approach to her illness is typical of Tessa. She’s made a commitment to making a difference, and that’s what she spent her time in Parliament doing and it’s a mark of what a special and impressive person she is.
“She was an amazing MP and had a huge impact whilst in government. And even when Labour wasn’t in government she continued to make a huge contribution to the Olympics. That was certainly a very big pair of shoes to fill.”
The Labour veteran served as secretary of state for culture under Tony Blair’s government, and was credited with leading London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
Tessa also posted on Twitter: “Thank you so much for love and support on my birthday. More people living longer better lives with cancer is my birthday pledge.”