Rolland Murray Fox, father of Terry Fox, passes away from cancer

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Image: Terry Fox Foundation

Rolland Murray Fox, the father of Canadian cancer research icon Terry Fox, has passed away this afternoon.

The 80-year-old died this afternoon after a battle with lung cancer. The initial cancer diagnosis was made in January 2016.

The following statement has been released this evening by the Terry Fox Foundation on behalf of the Fox Family:

Our Dad and Grandpa is no longer telling jokes. Rolland Murray Fox died late afternoon on March 8th while listening to a little Hank Williams. He fulfilled his promise to Terry facing cancer with courage, grace and plenty of humour. He thanked everyone, every time as they left the room after caring for him and each and every family member and friend after a visit. Our promise to Dad is to try our very best to focus on the many memories of laughter he gifted us the last few weeks and throughout our lives. His room was always overflowing with family, love, laughter, song and story – does life offer anything better? We have witnessed once again the pain cancer causes but we know, oh how we know, that we are not alone. We have seen first hand the opportunities to extend life because of our nation’s collective belief and investment in cancer research, yet have been forced to accept that they were not available to Dad/Grandpa. We now have your journey, together with Terry’s, to offer us inspiration and hope from this day forward, forever more.

– The Fox Family

B.C. Premier Christy Clark released a statement shortly after to address Rolland’s death:

B.C., Canada, and the world have lost a dedicated, resolute pillar in the fight against cancer in Rolly Fox.

He made the hero’s dream to beat cancer stronger and closer – not just for him, but the millions of people inspired by him and the Fox family, and the thousands of families forever changed by life-saving cancer research.

And while the entire province mourns his loss, tonight my thoughts and prayers are with Rolly’s friends and family.

Rolland’s death comes four and a half years after the death of his wife Betty Fox, who passed away in July 2011 following complications with diabetes and arthritis.

Their son, Terry, lost his right leg in 1977 to an amputation procedure to prevent the spread of bone cancer. At the time of the procedure, he was18 years old.

Three years later, with a prosthetic right leg, he captured the nation’s attention by embarking on an ambitious cross-Canada run to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Beginning from St. John, Newfoundland, he ran a distance equivalent to a marathon each day, with an ultimate goal of reaching the Pacific.

But Terry’s Marathon of Hope was cut short after 143 days and a distance of 5,374 kilometres. A recurrence of cancer in his lungs forced him to stop at Thunder Bay, Ontario. He died on June 28, 1981 at the age of 22.

To date, Fox’s namesake foundation has raised close to $700 million for cancer research worldwide. This year’s Terry Fox Run is scheduled to take place on September 18.

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