Alberta premier Peter Lougheed at a meeting in Edmonton in 1982.
Credits: QMI AGENCY
CALGARY -- Peter Lougheed, the 10th premier of Alberta, has died.
He was 84.
"Although he was known to many for his contributions to Alberta and to Canada, his first dedication was to his family," read a family statement released Thursday.
"He was a deeply caring and loving husband, father and grandfather. We will miss him terribly.
"Thank you to all Albertans and Canadians for their outpouring of support which has deeply touched our family."
Lougheed served as premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985.
Lougheed's health had deteriorated in recent months and he was recently hospitalized in Calgary at the hospital named after him.
"Those of us who have had the honour of working with him are deeply saddened by his passing," said Ron Ghitter, one of the original 49 MLAs elected with Lougheed in 1971, the start of the Conservative government's dynasty in Alberta.
"He was an immense influence on all of us who had the good fortune to work with him and we learned so much from him.
"Him passing is a loss from our point of view and from the province and Canada's point of view because he was such an important figure in Canada's history."
Ghitter said the province likely won't see another politician like Lougheed.
"He was of a special breed and they only come around once in a lifetime," he said. "There was something very special about him.
"He was the consummate politician but with a tremendous insight and a very hardworking, ethical man.
"He didn't plan days ahead, he planned years ahead. "People of that nature are few and far between."
A Calgary lawyer and one-time Edmonton Eskimo, Lougheed was first elected to the legislature in 1967, from where he worked to topple a Social Credit dynasty of 35 years.