Suicide victim outside legislature was military veteran with depression, family says

Ken Chan was a quiet man who would help anybody in need, his family says. He was not the type to try to draw attention to himself. 

Ken Chan, 62, sent two emails minutes before he died

A candle and flowers on the steps of the Alberta legislature, the spot where Ken Chan died by suicide Monday afternoon. (Kim Trynacity/CBC)

The military veteran who died by suicide on the steps of the Alberta legislature on Monday was a quiet man who would help anybody in need, his family says.

Ken Chan was not the type of person to try to draw attention to himself, said Harald Linder, who thinks Chan, his stepfather, suffered from depression and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder.

"He probably had a lot of pain that he just kept inside, depression being one of them," Linder said on Tuesday. 

Chan was a retired army veteran who served his country for 25 years. 

Ken Chan died by suicide on Monday afternoon at the Alberta legislature. He was 62. (Submitted by Harald Linder)

Not long before he died, Chan sent two emails. One was directed to his boss and co-workers at the trucking company where he worked, complaining about a lack of respect but expressing love for his fellow employees.

The other one was directed to the federal and provincial health ministers regarding medical assistance in dying, advocating for greater access. Chan wanted to bring attention to MAID, though Linder isn't sure why he focused on the issue. 

Both emails were sent simultaneously about 25 minutes before Chan's death. 

Linder said he's sad that his stepfather felt he had to take his own life.

"I can't change the past, but it's too bad a really good man had to do that."

He said he hopes that by discussing the death he may be able to help someone else in crisis.

"Try and love yourself and try and love the ones around you."

A funeral for Chan is scheduled for Saturday. 

If you're struggling or know someone who is, you can call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service hotline 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566, or text "CONNECT" to the Kids Help Phone (which also serves adults) between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. ET at 686868.

For a list of 24-hour crisis centres in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention website.

If you feel your mental health or the mental health of a loved one is at risk of an immediate crisis, call 911.