NDP Leader Jack Layton has died after losing his second battle with cancer.

He was 61.

Born in Montreal, Layton moved to Toronto after he attended McGill University.

He became a Toronto city councillor before moving on to federal politics, eventually taking over the NDP and leading it to its best finish ever during last May's federal election.

Layton's family - his wife Olivia Chow and children Sarah and Michael - released the following statement Monday morning:

"We deeply regret to inform you that The Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones. Details of Mr. Layton's funeral arrangements will be forthcoming."

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