Big 6 Heartbreaker of 2011: Jack Layton

6 Jack Layton.jpg"Good afternoon. On February the 5th, 2010, I shared with Canadians that I, like 25-thousand other Canadian men every year, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer."    

That's how Jack Layton began what would begin his final press conference, late in July of this year.

Looking gaunt, his voice hoarse, there was no hiding how cancer had taken its toll.
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On August 25th Jack Layton, Canada's new Leader of the Official Opposition, succumbed to cancer. He was 61.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with Jack's politics, few deny his likability. Here was a guy you could have a beer with, jokes with, even sing with...



That's Jack, guitar in hand, on a campaign airplane, coaxing a dozen or so journalists in a sing-along.

Here he is, playing piano at a campaign stop, also during this Spring's election.



And here he is poking fun at the NDP with "Party For Sale or Rent" in 2005.



One of the last things Jack did was release a letter addressed to all Canadians.

And the last part was classic Jack.

Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.

Those words have echoed since. Day 6 wanted to pay tribute to the power of Jack Layton's final thoughts, and his love of music.

Here is Day 6 contributor Allison Goertz, with a song composed with words from Jack's letter.

He's your pick for the 2011 Big 6 Heartbreak of the Year.


 
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