June Callwood, 82: Journalist and activist

Canadian journalist and social activist June Callwood died early Saturday morning. She was 82 years old.

Callwood was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in Sept. 2003 and was given six months to live. She notably refused chemotherapy treatment.

When she finally succumbed to the disease at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, her daughters Jill and Jesse were by her side.

As an activist, Callwood was often referred to as “Canada’s Conscience,” creating and/or co-founding more than 50 social aid groups, including one of the world’s first HIV/AIDS hospices, Toronto’s Casey House.

Her last interview was with CBC TV’s The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos on April 2. During the interview she said she was ready to die: “I’m okay, I’m 82 years old for heaven’s sake. Dust to dust is the way it ought to be.”

Based on early reports, Callwood died around 4 a.m. on Saturday.

The Globe and Mail’s website was first to break the news at 8:14 a.m., followed by CBC Newsworld at 8:27, Canadian Press at 8:57, CTV Newsnet at 9:09 and, finally, the National Post’s website at 9:55.