Former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed dead at 84 0
Peter Lougheed, the 10th premier of Alberta, has died.
He was 84.
"Although he was known to many for his contributions to Alberta and to Canada, his first dedication was to his family," read a family statement released Thursday.
"He was a deeply caring and loving husband, father and grandfather. We will miss him terribly.
"Thank you to all Albertans and Canadians for their outpouring of support which has deeply touched our family."
Lougheed served as premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985.
Lougheed's health had deteriorated in recent months and he was recently hospitalized in Calgary at the northeast hospital named after him.
"Those of us who have had the honour of working with him are deeply saddened by his passing," said Ron Ghitter, one of the original 49 MLAs elected with Lougheed in 1971, the start of the Conservative government's dynasty in Alberta.
"He was an immense influence on all of us who had the good fortune to work with him and we learned so much from him.
"Him passing is a loss from our point of view and from the province and Canada's point of view because he was such an important figure in Canada's history."
Ghitter said the province likely won't see another politician like Lougheed.
"He was of a special breed and they only come around once in a lifetime," he said. "There was something very special about him.
"He was the consummate politician but with a tremendous insight and a very hardworking, ethical man.
"He didn't plan days ahead, he planned years ahead. People of that nature are few and far between."
Lougheed was a "master politician" and "gifted lawyer," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.
"The former premier was instrumental in laying the foundation for the robust economic success that his cherished province of Alberta enjoys today," it read.
"He was a driving force behind the province's economic diversification, of it having more control of its natural resources and their development, of Alberta playing a greater role in federation and of improving the province's health, research and recreational facilities.
"He was also instrumental in the creation of the Canadian Encyclopedia.
"Mr. Lougheed did all of these things for his province while also working tirelessly towards a strong and united Canada."
Along with being a member of the Privy Council of Canada, and a Companion of the Order of Canada, Lougheed was inducted in the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and was made an honourary Chief of the Cree First Nation.
In June, Lougheed was named Canada's greatest premier of the last 40 years by the Institute for Research and Public Policy.
On Twitter: @SUNDaveDormer