Nick Ternette, seen in a file image, is angry about the amputation of his legs but learning to accept it, his wife says. ((CBC))

Well-known Winnipeg activist Nick Ternette was in intensive care on Thursday after both his legs were amputated due to a massive infection.

Ternette, 64, was admitted to the Health Sciences Centre on July 24, suffering from severe pain in his thigh, said his wife, Emily.

Doctors told Ternette, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer, that he had an infection that was spreading rapidly. On Saturday morning, his entire right leg was amputated from the hip along with his left leg below the knee.

"He's terrified is what he is. I know he is because I know him," Emily Ternette said. "But he's not panicking, he's just taking it, because that's what he does."

She said the doctors are not certain where the infection came from, but Ternette's immune system is weak from his cancer treatments.

Still, the infection came as a complete surprise, she said.

"I would say he is still experiencing shock, and there will be some grieving, and he's gotten some anger out," she said. "It's the same with when he developed cancer. He just was upset at first, and he remained upset of course, but he just was going to fight it and that was it."

Ternette was first diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and it returned in 2008.

Known for his outspoken, left-leaning stance on local politics, Ternette has been a fixture at city council meetings, voicing his opinions. He ran for mayor of Winnipeg in 1977, again in 1986, 1989, 1995 and 2002 — and also campaigned for the leadership of the Manitoba New Democratic Party in 1979.