UK’s Cameron to stay overnight in France following death of his father whilst on vacation

By David Stringer, AP
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Father of UK’s Cameron dies on vacation in France

LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron’s father died in France on Wednesday after suffering a stroke while on vacation, the leader’s office said.

Cameron flew to a hospital in Toulon, on the French Riviera, to be at his 77-year-old father’s side, arriving shortly before he died, spokesman Steve Field told reporters in London.

“It is with deep regret we can confirm that Ian Cameron died earlier this afternoon. He passed away shortly after the prime minister arrived at the hospital in France where he was undergoing treatment,” Cameron’s office said in a statement.

Cameron’s father had suffered “a stroke and heart complications while on holiday in France,” the statement said.

Field said Cameron planned to stay in France overnight, but remained in charge of British affairs.

Cameron’s father, a retired stockbroker, previously had had both of his legs amputated and used a wheelchair.

In an interview before Britain’s election in May, Cameron described his father’s refusal to allow his disability to impede his life.

“My father is a huge hero figure for me. He’s an amazingly brave man because he was born with no heels — quite a disability,” Cameron told ITV television. “I think I got my sense of optimism from him.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy provided a helicopter to transport Cameron from a French airport to the hospital as he rushed from London to see his father, Field said.

Cameron canceled meetings and a scheduled appearance to answer questions from lawmakers to travel to France with his brother and other family members. He was not accompanied by his wife or children.

The British leader had returned to work Tuesday following the birth of his fourth child — Florence Rose Endellion Cameron — on Aug. 24.

Cameron and his wife, Samantha, have two other children, Elwen and Nancy. Their eldest son Ivan, who had epilepsy and cerebral palsy, died last year aged 6.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stood in for the 43-year-old Cameron at the House of Commons questions session, the weekly showdown that offers lawmakers the chance to address the prime minister directly.

Associated Press Writer Jenny Barchfield in Paris contributed to this report

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