Former Quebec prime minister Bernard Landry died at the age of 81.
The former leader and supporter of the Québécois Party was organized from 2001 to 2003 until he was defeated by Liberals Quebec under the leadership of Jean Charest. He was also the leader of the leftist separatist party from 2001 to 2005 after Lucien Bouchard resigned.
"The man is a great man, an important man in Quebec's history," Quebec Premier François Legault said, adding Landry would be given a state-filled funeral.
His health has failed for the past few months and he died at his home in Verchères, Que., A complication of lung disease. Landry's death was confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
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"My heart is devastated by the news of the death of Premier Landry," said PQ interim leader Pascal Bérubé on Twitter. "On behalf of Parti Québécois, I express my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and to all Quebec sovereignty."
PQ MNA Catherine Fournier said the Landry heritage "will continue to inspire the next generation."
"A country, we will do it thanks to your contribution," he said on social media.
"Rest assured that we will bring the torch up."
Régis Labeaume, mayor of Quebec City, described the death of the former prime minister as "a big loss for Quebec."
"Mr. Landry made a sign in the country of Quebec, his contribution is extraordinary and he always promotes our language, our culture and our identity," he said in a statement.
A persistent ruler from the start
A persistent ruler, Landry was a student activist in the 1960s. He obtained a law degree from Université de Montréal before he continued his economic and financial studies at the l’Institut d’études politiques de Paris.
The native Saint-Jacques was only 27 years old when PQ founder René Lévesque pulled him into Quebec's political field. He ran unsuccessfully in 1970 and 1973 under the party flag, but he finally got a place in Fabre in 1976.
During his time with the party, Landry held several important positions, starting with state ministers for economic development. He also served as finance minister, minister of external trade and international relations.
In 1994, he was appointed as deputy prime minister by premier Jacques Parizeau. Dubbed "super minister," he also holds several positions including the minister of international affairs, immigration and the cultural community.
Throughout his political career, Landry was not only a strong sovereignty, he was dedicated to building a economically independent Quebec country. Under Bouchard, he was the first finance minister in decades to balance the budget.
"He clearly gives credibility to the sovereignty and separatist movement on economic issues and that is his expertise," Charest told Global News. "So he has made a very significant contribution to the development of modern Quebec."
Landry then served as deputy prime minister of Quebec until 2001 when he took over from Bouchard.
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After PQ was defeated in the 2003 provincial election, Landry remained as party leader until he left politics in 2005.
The last time Landry was seen in public was May 21, when he participated in Patriot National Day activities.
His first wife Lorraine Laporte-Landry died of cancer in 1999. He left his second wife, Chantal Renaud and three children, Julie, Philippe and Pascale.
– With files from Global Tim Sargeant and The Canadian Press
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