Michel Gauthier died on May 30, 2020. He had been fighting lung cancer. Gauthier had vmade the announcement himself last year. According to CBC, he was surrounded by family members at the time of his passing.

For several years, Michel Gauthier was one of the most prominent members of the Canadian Parliament. He was a key figure in the Quebec sovereignty movement, a separatist movement that seeks Quebec's independence from Canada.

Gauthier would eventually backtrack on many of his separatist views. And his political party affiliation would change.

And now Canadian political figures of various stripes are mourning his loss.

Died on May 30

Before going into politics, Gauthier made a name for himself as a school teacher. In later years, he became a columnist. And, as noted by the National Post, he became a television host.

Was the leader of the opposition during the 1990s

Gauthier became active in the local politics of Roberval in central Quebec during the 1970s. In 1981, he was elected to the National Assembly of Quebec. He was a member of the provincial political party Parti Quebec. Translating to 'Quebec Party', it promotes a platform that supports the separatism of Quebec. For a time, Gauthier was the parliamentary secretary to the Quebec Finance Minister Jacques Parizeau.

Parizeau later became the province's premier.

In 1993, Gauthier was elected to Canada's House of Commons as a member of Bloc Quebecois and also referred to as Quebecer Bloc. The party holds very similar policies to Parti Quebec, but it operates at the federal level.

During the 1990s, the membership of the Canadian House of Commons was very fractured.

So much so that Bloc Quebecois had the second-largest amount of members in the body. Enough to make up the Official Opposition. This came despite the party's separatist stance, and it only fielding candidates in one province.

Party Leader Lucien Bouchard resigned in 1996 to become Quebec's new premier. This triggered a leadership election.

Whoever won would also become the leader of the opposition in the House of Commons. Although he'd kept a relatively low profile to that point, Gauthier emerged victoriously.

His tenure as party and opposition leader was fairly brief, a little over a year. But he then found himself in the role that he perhaps became truly known for, as the longtime house leader of Bloc Quebecois. He'd also become the party's chief campaign organizer.

Ailing from poor health, he resigned in 2007. He would also come to renounce his support for separatism. And become a critic of the Bloc Quebecois. Eventually, he joined the Conservative Party of Canada. He would not stand as a candidate for the party but did campaign for it.