The Globe and Mail is reporting that Jack Layton passed away early this morning. He was 61.

This is not the news I wanted to wake up to. Gadhafi’s ouster, market instability: that was supposed to be my Monday morning read. Not the death of one the best people in Canadian politics.

Nobody should die at 61.

Carle, Whitworth and I interviewed Layton when he passed through town back in early 2010. Have to admit that going in I was pretty ambivalent about Jack — didn’t like his chances in an election, always felt he wasn’t bold enough inĀ  the vision he’d laid out for the NDP. I came away from the interview thoroughly impressed by his passion and his political savvy. He was a leader I could get behind.

Jack Layton was like all of my favourite bands: better live than recorded.

That interview, by the way, took place before he’d even announced he was suffering from prostate cancer. So I chose the cover image from that issue as the one for this post as I’d rather remember him as Fighting Jack.

Incidentally, the G&M ran a great profile of him back in May after he led the NDP to its biggest gains in the party’s history.

I don’t want to write about this any more. I’m too grief-stricken. Anyone else care to share their thoughts?