Veteran left-wing political activist Harry Leslie Smith has passed away at the age of 95 after dedicating his life to fighting for the poor and promoting social justice.
His son, John Smith, announced the news on Harry's Twitter account, saying:
At 3:39 this morning, my dad Harry Leslie Smith died. I am an orphan. #IStandWithHarry
At 3:39 this morning, my dad Harry Leslie Smith died. I am an orphan. #istandwithharry
— John Smith (son of Harry Leslie Smith) (@John Smith (son of Harry Leslie Smith))
The former World War II veteran, RAF pilot, and campaigner for the NHS, junior doctors, and refugees - who called himself the 'world's oldest rebel' - became critically ill while visiting his son in Canada, and suffering a fall.
Leslie was born to a mining family in the slums of Barnsley in 1923, and lived through the Great Depression. His sister died at the age of 10 from tuberculosis, because their family could not afford a doctor, reports The Mirror.
He was also the author of several books about Britain in the Great Depression, war, and post-war austerity, including titles such as Harry's Last Stand, Love Among the Ruins and Don't Let My Past Be Your Future.
Last year, he celebrated winning a battle with pneumonia, telling the Mirror:
I know were it not for the NHS, my life would have ended a long time ago because I come from an endless ancestry of hard-working folk whose labour never paid enough to afford a pleasant life.
The working class only came to good fortune when a Labour government was elected in 1945.
Leslie was an outspoken supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, and used his considerable Twitter following of more than 254,000 to defend the NHS and fight for junior doctors.
When Leslie's illness was announced, Corbyn took to Twitter to express his sadness:
Very sorry to hear this. Please pass on my best to Harry. We need him to get well soon as the National Health Service, and our movement, needs him.
@Harryslaststand Very sorry to hear this. Please pass on my best to Harry. We need him to get well soon as the Nati… https://t.co/AUlgocTXjC