Former Liberal MP and Kirkland mayor Nick Discepola has died.

Italian-born Discepola served as a Member of Parliament for the Vaudreuil riding from 1993 to 1997, and then the Vaudreuil-Soulanges riding from 1997 to 2004.

Prior to that, he served as mayor of the West Island town of Kirkland, a position he held from 1989 to 1993.

He died days before his 63rd birthday.

Discepola’s struggle with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour was featured on

In 1993, he became a vocal advocate for the group, which fought for the implementation of a national catastrophic drug coverage program after his wife survived a rare form of blood cancer.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

In his story on the website, Discepola explained that fighting the cancer cost $11,000 per month, none of which was covered by his provincial drug coverage.

“On a retirement income, that’s a huge blow to me and my family. This is not a practice that should be allowed to continue in Canada,” he explained in his story at that time.

“I’m fortunate to have applied for and receive Afinidor through Novartis’s compassionate use program—without their help I don’t know what I would do. I would have to beg, borrow or steal to continue my treatment.”

Upon news of Discepola's death, Liberal Leader Bob Rae released this statement:

"It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of former Liberal MP Nick Discepola.

Nick was a dedicated and respected representative of his constituents in the House of Commons for over a decade. Elected in 1993 in the riding of Vaudreuil and then Vaudreuil-Soulanges, his contributions to Parliament, his community and Quebecers will live on for years to come.

In addition to a lengthy and successful career as an entrepreneur, Nick was a lifelong advocate for the people of Kirkland. It is a credit to his years of leadership in municipal politics that his community was recognized as having the best quality of life in Canada.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary Caucus, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends during this difficult time."