The coroner’s office confirmed on Monday that the late Jim Hillyer, Member of Parliament for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner, died of a heart attack during the early morning hours of March 23, at his desk in his Ottawa office.
Autopsy results indicate that he died instantly of cardiomyopathy, which may be related to an undiagnosed pre-existing heart condition or from the intense chemotherapy he underwent in 2003 to treat leukemia. In addition, the medical examination eliminated any current health issues as playing a factor in Mr. Hillyer’s death.
The coroner has advised that in the coming weeks, further test results will confirm which of the two identifiable factors, is the cause of death.
Following the release of the autospsy results, Olivia Hillyer, wife of of the deceased, released this statement:
“More than words can express, I am moved deeply and comforted by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers my family has received since Jim’s sudden and tragic death.
Jim is my high school sweetheart. My heart is broken to lose him. He loved me so much in our 25 years together that I know I will feel it for the rest of my life. Jim cherishes our children. He has cheered for them, counselled with them, and cuddled them. London, Taylor, Nation, and Asia are faithful and strong because of his example and love.
Jim loves the Lord. He faced the challenges of illness, accident and the pressures of life and civic duty with a strength which came from his faith and his desire to serve God.
Jim loves his country. It was his lifelong dream to serve as a Member of Parliament. He would often tell me that, even after all this time, his heart still swells with humility and gratitude when he walks to work and sees the Canadian flag waving from the Peace Tower.
He believes Canada is the greatest country on earth. He believes Southern Alberta is the best place to live and raise a family. The golden prairies, vast enough to see the Sweet Grass Hills on the east and Old Chief Mountain on the west, are a delight to his soul.
As Christians, the Resurrection is at the core of our beliefs. I am honoured to be the wife of a man, who gives his love so freely to the Lord.”