Former Canadian senator Joyce Fairbairn dies aged 82

Former Canadian Liberal senator and journalist Joyce Fairbairn has died aged 82, the federal government confirmed Tuesday.

The cause of his death was not immediately known, although Fairbairn resigned from his chair in 2013 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The Lethbridge, Alta., original was appointed to the Senate in 1984.

The Canadian Paralympic Committee said Fairbairn was a “pillar” of the Paralympic movement in Canada for many years. He was inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2011 in recognition of his significant role in growing paralympic sport in Canada.

“He has always been a huge fan of all of the Canadian Paralympics, and we greatly appreciate all his support. He will be greatly missed,” Marc-André Fabien, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee wrote in a statement Tuesday.

CBC News previously reported that Fairbairn had made a breakthrough as one of the first female journalists in the Parliamentary Press Gallery, was a senior adviser to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and later the government’s first female leader in the Senate.

All Canadian government buildings and companies in Lethbridge will display flags at half-mast until April 1 to mark his death, according to half-mast notice from the federal government.

Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School in Lethbridge is named after him.

Justin Trudeau chats with Senator Joyce Fairbairn at a reception on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in June 2002. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

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