Goodbye to a great politician
The former East-Flemish governor André Denys has died at the age of 65.
André Denys was battling lung cancer. He was also the leader of the liberal fraction in the Flemish and the federal parliament for several years. "He was battling the disease until the very last moment", his son witnessed.
André Denys started his political career in 1977, joining the city council in Zulte (East Flanders) for the Flemish liberals. Later, he moved to the Flemish and the federal level, where he was elected as an MP and picked as the liberal group leader.
In 2004, he succeeded Herman Balthazar as governor of East Flanders, a function which he retained until January this year when Jan Briers took over. In 2010, when he was 62, it turned out he was suffering from lung cancer. André Denys, a cycling fanatic, always battled this disease with every spark of energy he had, but lost the battle in a hospital in Ghent, surrounded by his family. "He kept fighting until the very end. It was a courageous fight", his son Nicolas said.
Mr Denys' funeral ceremony will be held in Ghent's famous Saint Baafs Cathedral next Saturday.
"One of the best Flemish MP's of the past 25 years"
The President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy (Flemish Christian democrat) calls André Denys "one of the best Flemish MP's of the past 25 years". "He set an example for many. André was always in for a strong debate and was always honest and fair."
The leader of the liberal fraction at the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, released a statement saying he lost a true friend and a good companion. The two made fundamental changes to the Flemish liberal party, preparing it for a new era in the 80ies and 90ies. Both were ardent cyclists. "I could never accept it when I was beaten in cycling, except when I was beaten by André."
"Goodbye to a great politician", said Belgian PM Elio Di Rupo (Francophone socialist).
[Flandersnews.be / Expatica]