Rolland Fox, the father of Canadian icon, Terry Fox has ended his battle with lung cancer. The 80-year-old died on Tuesday afternoon. His family announced his cancer diagnosis in January.

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“Rolland Murray Fox died late afternoon on March 8th while listening to a little Hank Williams. He fulfilled his promise to Terry facing cancer with courage, grace and plenty of humour,” read the announcement on the Terry Fox Foundation page. “We have seen first hand the opportunities to extend life because of our nation’s collective belief and investment in cancer research, yet have been forced to accept that they were not available to Dad/Grandpa.”

Rolland Fox, who is better known as “Rolly” started smoking at the age of 19. He quit the habit though on a dare and took up running the same year– he raced in and completed a 10-miler after giving up the cigarettes.

This year marked 30 years free of smoking for Fox. He also would have been 81 this month.

RELATED: 35 years of the marathon of hope

Rolly is known for his spirit of gratitude and the optimism which he passed on to his son before he started his run across Canada. In his final years, Rolly Fox would sign 14,000 thank-you letters to Canadians who supported the Fox family’s cause.

In an earlier post this year on the Foundation’s web site, Rolly wrote a thank-you to those who supported him. It reads as follows:

“I would like to express to all of the wonderful Terry Foxers in Canada and around the world, a heartfelt thank you for the many beautiful messages, letters and cards of love and support received related to my lung cancer diagnosis. The encouraging words have made it easier for me to remain positive and in good spirits.”

Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope ended in September of 1980. He died just one month before turning 23. Canadians from coast to coast run Terry Fox Runs every year to support his cause.


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