Former politician James Laxer dies at 76

Well-known Canadian author and former politician James Laxer died on Feb. 23, his family confirmed on social media.

'This shocking and totally unexpected news has been devastating for our family,' his son wrote

James Laxer, pictured here in 2012, passed away on Feb. 23. (CBC)

Well-known Canadian author and former politician James Laxer died on Feb. 23, his family confirmed on social media. He was 76.

He passed away of natural causes in Paris, his son Michael wrote on Facebook.

"This shocking and totally unexpected news has been devastating for our family and has not sunk in yet," the post said.

"He was a hell of a guy, larger than life in many ways, and it is hard to believe he is gone," a tweet from Michael later added.

Laxer was one of the founders of the Waffle, a left-wing group of the federal NDP party in the late 1960s and early 70s.

He ran for federal leadership of the party in 1971 and was ultimately defeated by David Lewis.

Later in life, Laxer was a professor at York University and television political commentator.