IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini dies

2014-08-16 11:42

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IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini (53) has died after a long battle against cancer.

Ambrosini, who was born in Rome and held US citizenship, had worked for the IFP for the past 13 years.

He became an MP in 2009 and most recently used his illness to drive a campaign to legalise cannabis for medicinal use.

In February, he stood up to introduce a private members’ bill on it and received sympathy from MPs across the political divide.

A trained lawyer, he was IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s advisor from 1994 to 2004.

He leaves behind a wife and son.

Oriani-Ambrosini’s family put out a statement this morning confirming that he passed away in the early hours “after a long and courageous battle with terminal lung cancer”.

“We wish to thank everyone who offered such tremendous support over the past 19 months. The love and warmth shown to him and to us from so many friends has been deeply appreciated.

“Mario fought many battles throughout his life, but this was no doubt his toughest. Nonetheless, he continued to fight, not only for his own sake, but on behalf of the countless people who face this same battle.

“Mario has always been in total command of his life. Since day one, when diagnosed with terminal cancer without any previous symptoms, he decided on his course of treatment and adjusted it according to his own research, studies and experiments. He remained true to his own character, right up to the end.”

The family said they would remember him “not only as a warrior, but as a caring husband and a loving father, completely dedicated to his son, Luke”.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

The family requested that their privacy be respected at this time.

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