Welsh politicians and community leaders across the political spectrum have paid tribute today to one of the country’s youngest ever Assembly Ministers, Steffan Lewis.
Lewis, the Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East lost his battle with bowel cancer today aged just 34. He leaves behind his wife, Shona, and his son Celyn, who described him as “our rock, our anchor, and most certainly our hero”.
Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, taking more than 16,000 lives each year. While 9 out of 10 of those diagnosed are over 50, the disease can affect anyone. The untimely death of such a young and well-liked family man has been a hard loss for those who knew him, with many praising his kindness and honesty while mourning his loss.
Plaid Cymru’s leader Adam Price said in a statement:
“Steffan was beloved by his friends in Plaid Cymru and we are in a state of shock and grief at losing our very brightest star.
“He will be remembered as a politician of rare talent who achieved an incredible amount during his time in elected office, which has been cut short in such harrowing circumstances.
“His powers of reasoning and intellect were matched only by his capacity for compassion – even while suffering illness, Steffan persisted in prioritising the welfare of other people by speaking openly about his difficult experiences while all the time continuing to work on behalf of his nation and constituents.”
Price recounted that when Carwyn Jones was asked to name the political opponent he most respected in an interview around the time he left his post as First Minister, he had answered: ‘Steffan Lewis’.
In a statement expressing his sympathies, Mark Drakeford, First Minister for Wales, described Lewis as “one of the most decent and able politicians of his generation.”
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodd, said Lewis was “a caring and passionate politician who always stood by his values and was an exemplary member of the Assembly.”
Yes Cymru said Lewis was:
“A gracious, intelligent man totally committed to an independent Wales tomorrow and a better Wales today. The knowledge of what he would have achieved is all the more poignant. A true Welsh hero.”