The Current

Harry Leslie Smith, 95-year-old activist and podcaster, critically ill in hospital

Harry Leslie Smith has inspired countless people with his fight for equality. Now the 95-year-old activist and podcaster is in hospital, battling pneumonia. According to his son John, "the battle Harry is fighting now is for his life."

Activist spoke with The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti in 2017

Harry Leslie Smith said he keeps fighting for equality because he knows 'what it's like when people suffer.' (Submitted by the Smith family)

Update November 28, 2018: Harry Leslie Smith died in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was 95.

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Harry Leslie Smith grew up in extreme poverty, and lived through the Great Depression and the Second World War. In his later years, he used those experiences to fuel his fight for equality, against poverty and ill-treatment of refugees.

Now the 95-year-old activist and podcaster is in hospital, battling pneumonia. His son John has been providing updates through Harry's Twitter account, and says "the battle Harry is fighting now is for his life."

The British-born Smith, who lives part-time in Canada, has spent his recent years writing books and visiting refugee camps in Europe to highlight the plight of the people living there. In his 90s, he started a podcast called Harry's Last Stand, sharing his message with tens of thousands of listeners: Don't let my past become your future.

"I'm worried because I like people, I love people, and I know what it's like when people suffer," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti in 2017.

Since his hospitalization in Belleville, Ont. on Nov. 20, John has been fielding a swell of support from well-wishers, including from leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

One of the latest tweets from John said that last night was the first since he went into hospital that Harry wasn't able to wish him good night with a kiss on the cheek.

In 2017, The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti spoke with Smith to talk about his incredible life story, and why he won't stop fighting for equality. Listen to their conversation below.


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