Sept. 19 (UPI) — Former Canadian prime minister John Turner has died at the age of 91.
Marc Kealeay, a former aide and family friend, told CP24 of Toronto that Turner died peacefully in his sleep at home.
“He’s in a much better place, and I can say on behalf of the family there was no struggle and it was very, very peaceful,” Kealey said.
Turner was dubbed “Canada’s Kennedy” when he arrived in Ottawa in the 1960s, serving as justice and then finance minister from 1968 to 1975, resigning after disagreements with then-Liberal Party leader Pierre Trudeau.
A lawyer by training, Turner returned to practicing law briefly and then won party leadership in 1984.
He only served as prime minister for 79 days before Conservatives, under leadership of Brian Mulroney, won 211 seats in parliament, putting Mulroney in power.
Turner continued to serve as Liberal leader until 1990, when he resigned.
Turner was born in England, and emigrated to Canada as a child after the death of his father.
His mother initially moved the family to Rossland, B.C., where she grew up, then to Ottawa.
A Rhodes scholar and Olympic-caliber track star, Turner graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1949, later studying at Oxford and the Sorbonne before moving to Montreal to practice law and later turning to politics.
“John Turner was one of a kind,” prime minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “An honourable gentleman and an upstanding Canadian, John cared deeply about democracy, equality, and those he served. His optimistic outlook, energetic approach, and tireless service inspired many – and our country is a better place for it.”
Former prime minister Paul Martin said Turner was “an enourmous source of support and advice for me during my years in office.”