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Saskatchewan MLA Roger Parent dies two weeks after cancer diagnosis

Saskatchewan Party MLA Roger Parent, shown in this undated handout photo, has died.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Flags at the Saskatchewan legislature are at half-mast after the death of Saskatchewan Party MLA Roger Parent.

The 63-year-old member for Saskatoon Meewasin died Tuesday night at the city's Royal University Hospital with family members by his side.

Word of his death came just a day after Parent's wife, Sheila, revealed that her husband had received an unexpected cancer diagnosis after feeling unwell, and that the disease was widespread.

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Premier Brad Wall said Parent's death is a shock for everyone since the politician had only learned he had cancer in the last two weeks.

"This is all very sudden and profound, the loss," Wall said Wednesday at the legislature.

"He had a very tough diagnosis, but this was a shock, and we're going to miss him."

Parent was first elected as part of the governing Saskatchewan Party in 2011 and was re-elected in last spring's vote.

He was a proud constituency man, who wanted to serve and didn't ask to be in cabinet, said Wall, who had known Parent for more than a decade.

Before being elected, Parent was involved in several community initiatives involving homelessness and indigenous economic development. He had other passions, too, including a love of hunting, golf and home improvement projects, Wall said during a tribute.

"But here lately, seeing him beam about his grandson Nash, betrayed the fact that there was a new passion, a greater passion," said an emotional Wall.

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"And those of us who have worked alongside him and those who knew and loved him best, I know will resolve this day and all the days forward, that they're going to ensure Nash knows the quality and character of his grandfather."

NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon also offered condolences to Parent's family and the Saskatchewan Party caucus and staff.

Wotherspoon said that despite being on opposite sides of the assembly, he and Parent would talk in the hallway about shared interests. They traded hunting stories and a love of the outdoors.

"He's was always affable, quite gentle actually in exchange, and a good humour that he had, so I'll miss those discussions," said Wotherspoon.

"Sometimes I don't think that's always evident in this assembly ... that there's a level of humanity and relationship that extends across the floor. I found peace at times in those conversations with Roger in different corners of this assembly."

There was no immediate word on funeral plans.

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