Herb Gray, former deputy prime minister and one of Canada's longest-serving parliamentarians, has died at the age of 82.
Gray's career in federal politics spanned nearly four decades, starting in Opposition to John Diefenbaker and sweeping to victory with Jean Chretien's third Liberal majority government in November 2000.
Constituents say he was a down to earth politician who always looked beyond party lines when it came to their concerns.
He leaves behind wife Sharon Sholzberg, and two children, Jonathan and Elizabeth, and eight grandchildren.
The Windsor lawyer was first elected to the Commons in 1962 at the age of 31.
He would remain undefeated for 12 successive elections in his Windsor West riding. In the November 2000 election, he captured over 20,000 votes, more than twice that of his nearest competitor.
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau issued the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that I learned Herb Gray has passed away. As one of Canada’s longest serving Members of Parliament and first Jewish cabinet minister, he has left behind an immense legacy unmatched by most in Canadian history.
“Over more than five decades of public service, Herb served in 11 different cabinet portfolios and ultimately as Deputy Prime Minister. Unflappable in Question Period, he made an indelible mark on Canadian parliamentary life.
“Beloved by all, Herb devoted a lifetime to his party and his country, in both good times and bad. Most importantly, though, Herb was fundamentally committed to fighting for and serving the people of Windsor, Ontario, who elected him as their representative time and time again.
“Sophie and I join in mourning the loss of one of Canada’s great statesmen, and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Sharon, and the entire family at this sad time.”