‘Rolly’ Fox, father of Marathon of Hope’s Terry Fox, dies at 80

"Our Dad and Grandpa is no longer telling jokes," says Fox family

VANCOUVER — Rolland Fox, the father of iconic Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox, has died at the age of 80.

A statement posted on the Terry Fox Foundation website said the family patriarch known to friends and family as Rolly died on Tuesday afternoon, having been diagnosed in January with lung cancer.

“Our Dad and Grandpa is no longer telling jokes,” said the statement, adding that Fox died “while listening to a little Hank Williams.”

The Fox family had said in January that he was committed to approaching the challenge with optimism and a never-give-up attitude — attributes that he “likely passed on to his son, Terry.”

“He fulfilled his promise to Terry, facing cancer with courage, grace and plenty of humour,” the statement read.

“He thanked everyone, every time, as they left the room after caring for him, and each and every family member and friend after a visit.”

Rolly Fox began smoking at age 19 and quit on a dare from his brother in 1986, the family said in January, noting Fox had completed a 16-kilometre run the following year.

The patriarch was a “behind-the-scenes believer” of his son’s mission for 36 years and after the 2011 death of his wife and Terry Fox’s mother, Betty Fox, he became more active, visiting Terry Fox Runs across Canada.

Terry Fox was diagnosed with cancer and his right leg was amputated in 1977. He became a national icon after he ran more than 5,000 kilometres over 143 days in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. He died in June 1981 at the age of 22.

“We have witnessed once again the pain cancer causes but we know, oh how we know, that we are not alone,” said the family statement.

“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.”

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Premier Christy Clark said “B.C., Canada, and the world have lost a dedicated, resolute pillar in the fight against cancer in Rolly Fox.”

“He made the hero’s dream to beat cancer stronger and closer — not just for him, but the millions of people inspired by him and the Fox family, and the thousands of families forever changed by life-saving cancer research.”

Just Posted

Community invited to help with Downtown Surrey BIA’s fence art project

Association is hoping to change the ‘narrative’ for 135A Street with artwork

Surrey killer foiled by cops’ suspicion he was underage in a bar

Birinderjeet Singh Bhangu was shot dead outside the Comfort Inn and Suites Hotel on Fraser Highway

Bureaucracy leaves Whalley Legion members thirsty

Legion’s new location needs liquor licence, despite being down street from former digs

Blaine railway stop contingent on international support: All Aboard Washington

Non-profit organizers look to residents of Surrey, White Rock and North Whatcom County

Delta man charged after police surround Tsawwassen home

Troy Kevin Reimer, 52, is charged with one count of uttering or conveying a threat to cause death or bodily harm

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read