LONDON (AP) — Glenys Kinnock, a former British cabinet minister, member of the European Parliament and wife of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, has died. She was 79.
Kinnock died Sunday at her London home some six years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, her family said.
Kinnock went from being a schoolteacher to an outspoken politician to cabinet minister under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and was known for her work to reduce poverty and starvation in Africa and other parts of the world.
Tony Blair, the former prime minister, said she had been a huge support to her husband but was a leader herself and her passing would be mourned in many places around the globe.
“She was a huge figure in progressive politics for decades: incredibly smart, brave, determined and resolute in standing up for what she believed was right,” Blair said. “Whether in fighting the cause of development, and the eradication of global poverty, social justice in Britain, equality for women or making the case for a European Union of weight and influence in the world, Glenys was passionate and persuasive."
Kinnock served as a member of the European Parliament from Wales for some 15 years before being made a baroness by Brown in 2009 so she could serve as his minister for Europe.
During her time in Brussels, she was caught up in a scandal with scores of other European Parliament members for signing in each day to collect a daily 175-pound ($222) allowance and then departing.
Born Glenys Elizabeth Parry on July 7, 1944, in England, she graduated from high school on the Welsh island of Anglesey and went to University College, Cardiff, where she met her future husband.
They were married in 1967 and had two children, Stephen, a Labour Party member in the House of Commons, and Rachel.
The family said in a statement that they were devastated. They said she endured Alzheimer's “as long as she could, sustained her merriment and endless capacity for love, never complaining and with the innate courage with which she had confronted every challenge throughout her life.”
The Associated Press