VANCOUVER, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - After a life blessed with extraordinary achievements and tremendous contributions to the community, and following a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer, Jack Poole, Chairman of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), died peacefully in hospital shortly after midnight on October 23rd, 2009.
"This is such sad news for us all. Jack was a man of great passion and drive, and we had all hoped and prayed that he would live to experience the Games he played such a major role in securing for Canada," said John Furlong VANOC's Chief Executive Officer, en route back to Vancouver from Greece. "He had so looked forward to the Olympic Flame lighting, and when I talked to him last night, we made plans to visit soon to show him pictures of Greece and the magnificent Lighting Ceremony. I thank God he was still with us when the Olympic Flame was ignited.
"I called him immediately afterwards to provide a play-by-play description of the moving ceremony at which IOC President Dr Jacques Rogge paid particular tribute to Jack's immense contribution. Jack was extremely moved by the day and truly felt he had come as close to being there as possible. I am so grateful I was able to share that with him and truly believe that Jack was then ready to say goodbye and passed away at the close of that same day.
"His spirit will guide us in these final months of preparation and celebration. He was encouraging and supportive to the end and we will honor him and complete the vision he started so many years ago. On behalf of all of the VANOC family, we extend our sincere condolences to the Poole family," concluded Furlong.
"We're eternally grateful for his leadership and vision," said Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport) for the Government of Canada. "His vision and dedication about making these Canada's Games have helped ensure that the 2010 Winter Games will be experienced by all Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and for that we are truly grateful. My thoughts and prayers are with Jack's family at this sad time."
"Jack Poole was a giant in every way and a close personal friend. Our community has lost a citizen of tremendous leadership and generosity and who helped shape the city and province we have today," said British Columbia's Premier Gordon Campbell. "I will miss him deeply. To his wife Darlene and the whole Poole family, we thank you for sharing him with us for so many years."
"Jack was a great citizen of Vancouver - from his enormous contribution in building our city to his efforts to bring the 2010 Games here," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "The legacy of his lifework will be indelible on Vancouver for generations to come, and his buoyant spirit will help lead us through the Games. Our deep condolences and gratitude to the Poole family."
Mr. Furlong and Premier Campbell are travelling back from Greece on October 23rd. Further details about their availability to media upon arrival late afternoon at the Vancouver International Airport will be communicated shortly. Once the VANOC Board has determined the next steps, this information will be made public.
The Poole family respectfully requests privacy as they grieve their loss.
A full biography and photo of Jack Poole are available at vancouver2010.com.
SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
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