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Updated: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:57:39 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Herb Gray, former MP and deputy prime minister, dies at 82



Former Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray, shown in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2002.Gray, former deputy prime minister and one of Canada's longest-serving parliamentarians, has died at the age of 82. Tom Hanson/Canadian Press

Former Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray, shown in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2002.Gray, former deputy prime minister and one of Canada's longest-serving parliamentarians, has died at the age of 82. Tom Hanson/Canadian Press

Herb Gray, a former deputy prime minister and Canada's first Jewish federal cabinet minister, has died at the age of 82, the federal Liberal Party announced late Monday night.

Gray was elected to Parliament for the first time in 1962. He served the district of Windsor West for almost four decades, making him one of the longest-serving MPs in Canadian history.

Gray "has left behind an immense legacy unmatched by most in Canadian history," Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said in a statement. 

"Beloved by all, Herb devoted a lifetime to his party and his country, in both good times and bad."

Trudeau said he and his wife join Canadians in "mourning the loss of one of Canada's great statesmen."

He was notorious for his stability as a politician.

He was "the Liberal Party's version of the Rock of Gibraltar," Don Boudria, a former Canadian politician, once said.

Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair offered condolences for "an esteemed politician who devoted his life to public service."

"Catherine and I offer our heartfelt respect to Mr. Gray for his dedication and outstanding contributions to Canada," Mulcair said in a statement released Tuesday.

Flags were lowered to half-mast on all federal government buildings in Ottawa Tuesday and will remain that way until sundown on the day of Gray's funeral. The flag on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill will be flown at half-mast on that day as well. The date for Gray's funeral not yet been announced.

Gray served in many cabinet positions and was appointed deputy prime minister by former prime minister Jean ​Chrétien in 1997. He retired from federal politics in 2002.

“Throughout his career, Gray was guided by principles of social justice, good governance, sound democratic processes and programs that create opportunities for all,” the Liberal Party statement read.

He went on to spend eight years as the Canadian chair of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States. In 2008, he became Carleton University's tenth chancellor.

Gray was married to Sharon Sholzberg-Gray for 46 years. The couple had two children and eight grandchildren.

He was a Companion of the Order of Canada and received numerous accolades from universities, governments and community organizations, including the inaugural Laurier Leadership Award from the Liberal Party of Canada.

In 2012, the Windsor-Essex Parkway project was renamed the Herb Gray Parkway in honour of the former MP. 

At the time, Gray said he missed everything about his hometown of Windsor.

"It's my home city," he said.  "I grew up here. I represented it in Parliament. People were very friendly. Very supportive. So I have wonderful memories."

Reaction on social media

Condolences and memories of the politician quickly spread online:

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