Former premier Bernard Landry dies at 81

Bernard Landry, the longtime Parti Québécois politician who briefly served as premier from 2001 to 2003, has died at the age of 81.

Last month, reports had surfaced that Landry's lungs were wasting away, and that he was confined to a wheelchair at his home, hooked up to oxygen tanks.

A lawyer and economist by training, Landry was first elected to the National Assembly in the wave that brought René Lévesque to power in 1976. 

He was Lévesque's Economic Development Minister until 1982 when he switched to other ministries including Exterior Commerce.

He went into teaching after the PQ was defeated in 1985, but returned to politics in 1994. Jacques Parizeau won that election, and Landry was named Deputy Premier.

Later, in Lucien Bouchard's government, he would help Quebec erase its $6-billion deficit as Finance Minister.

He took over the premiership in 2001 after Bouchard's resignation, and served as premier until he was defeated by Jean Charest's Liberals.

As recently as last month, Landry reiterated his devotion to the sovereignist cause. In an interview with La Presse, he suggested that the PQ's historic defeat in the Oct. 1 election might be the springboard toward regrouping.

Shortly after the announcement of Landry's death, premier François Legault — a former minister in Landry's government — announced at the National Assembly that a state funeral will be organized to honor Landry.

-CJAD 800's Shuyee Lee contributed to this report.