Former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell died at the age of 70 in her family’s arms after being in a coma since Friday.
Baroness Jowell, an ex-culture secretary who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in May last year, suffered a haemorrhage two days ago.
She was a popular figure in Parliament who played a major role in securing the 2012 Olympics for London when she led the culture department.
Food blogger Ella Woodward, who is married to the peer’s son Matthew, posted on Instagram: “Matt’s extraordinary Mum passed away last night.
“She was lying in Matt, his sister Jess, and their Dad’s arms, as they told her that she would live forever in the centre of their souls.
“I’ve never seen love like I have since becoming part of their family.
“Tessa was the warmest and kindest soul, she welcomed me so generously into their family, and no matter what she has achieved in her life – and she achieved an extraordinary amount, I know her family are the thing that made her most proud.”
In recent months, Baroness Jowell moved fellow peers in the House of Lords to tears as she discussed her condition and called for patients to have better access to experimental treatment.
A family spokesman said she had died “peacefully at the family home near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire last night, shortly after 10pm.
“Her husband David and their children Jessie and Matthew were by her side, with Jessie’s husband Finn, Matthew’s wife Ella, and David’s children from his first marriage.”
The spokesman added: “In addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in recent months doctors tried innovative new treatments which Tessa gladly embraced, but sadly the tumour recently progressed very quickly.”
Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: “The dignity and courage with which Dame Tessa Jowell confronted her illness was humbling and it was inspirational.
Former PM Tony Blair said: “Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known.”
Lord Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF and former chairman of the London organising committee of the Olympics, said: “Tessa was not just a close friend, she was a life enhancer.
“Her contribution to the Olympic and Paralympic Games is easily defined – quite simply, without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were.”
Baroness Jowell became MP for the south London Dulwich and West Norwood constituency in 1992.
After Labour’s landslide election victory five years later, she held a succession of ministerial jobs, including employment minister and minister for women, before joining the Cabinet as culture secretary in 2001.
She took on the job of convincing unsure colleagues about the merits of hosting the Olympics in 2012. London finally won the vote in July 2005.
In 2012 she was made Dame Tessa Jowell in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for political and charitable services, which were partly in recognition of her work on the Olympics.
Three years later, after stepping down from the Commons at the 2015 general election, she was made Baroness Jowell of Brixton.
She later stood to be Labour’s candidate for mayor of London in 2016 but lost out to Sadiq Khan.