A legacy of words: Saskatoon writer Jordon Cooper dies of cancer

Well-known blogger and Saskatoon StarPhoenix columnist Jordon Cooper, 44, has died after a battle with with colon and liver cancer.

Disease proves fatal nearly a year after diagnosis

Columnist Jordon Cooper was diagnosed with terminal cancer last spring. (Twitter)

Well-known blogger and Saskatoon StarPhoenix columnist Jordon Cooper has died after a battle with with colon and liver cancer.

Cooper was diagnosed in May 2017, went through chemotherapy and returned to write for the paper in August. He shared some of his experiences with the illness in his writing.

"I am only 43 and thought to myself that cancer would be easy to overcome. Later I was told that it was chronic but manageable. So much for being easy. A few days later I was told that the cancer in my liver was stage 4 and is terminal. The over/under date is two and a half years. So much for overcoming it," he wrote on Aug. 21, 2017.

Friends and readers who appreciated his columns and other writings were mourning his loss last night.

"When you watch someone waste away and you watch someone suffering, sometimes your first reaction is gratefulness that they are no longer in pain," family friend and fellow Saskatchewan blogger Tammy Robert told CBC on Monday.

"But, obviously everyone is devastated to lose someone, a father and a friend, especially so young."

Cooper and his wife Wendy had two sons, Mark and Oliver.

He started his blog in 2001 and began writing columns for the StarPhoenix in 2011. He covered civic and provincial politics, technology, culture and sports, often in a witty and personal way.

Cooper also had a large following on Twitter.
Cooper leaves behind his wife Wendy and two sons, ages 17 and 9. (CBC News)

Robert said he cared greatly about his community in Saskatoon and the province, but also brought people together online.

"He created a platform for a lot of people to feel included. Even though it wasn't a bricks and mortar community it meant a lot to a lot of people," she said.

She recalled a time when a tent city was set up by homeless people in Saskatoon and Cooper spent time at it and used his online connections to amplify the residents' voices.

"Those were things he did really well was give a voice to people who maybe wouldn't always have one and definitely didn't have the privilege of having one online," Robert said.

He was like family to me so there is definitely a big hole in my heart.- Tammy Robert, friend and fellow blogger

StarPhoenix editor in chief Heather Persson said in an obituary in the paper that Cooper's voice as a commentator and columnist was lost far too soon.

"Jordon stood up for vulnerable people in the community and challenged elected officials in the province — and especially Saskatoon — to do right by the citizens they represent," she said. "He also was willing to speak out of his own life and experiences. In this way he was brave and generous, and will be missed deeply by the people of this city."

Robert said she forged a friendship with Cooper online, and later in person, and scrapped with him over various topics like he was her "big brother." She said she is grateful, especially on behalf of his sons, he will be immortalised through his work.

"He was like family to me so there is definitely a big hole in my heart. I'm grateful for the legacy that he left, though, with his words, with his newspaper columns, with his blog, with his photographs and obviously the memories," Robert said.

A public service will be held for Cooper in Saskatoon April 3.