Tamworth mourns death of Dan Haslam

UPDATE: By editor Daniel Johns

TRIBUTES are continuing to flow for Dan Haslam, the Tamworth man who inspired a national revolution on medical marijuana.

Mr Haslam, 25, passed away peacefully on Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by family at his East Tamworth home.

The unlikely medical marijuana crusader was thrust into the public spotlight after turning to the drug for relief during his torrid battle with bowel cancer.

His authenticity and deep conviction touched millions, pushing medical marijuana onto the national agenda and to the brink of legalisation.

His mum Lucy Haslam, herself a tireless advocate for medical cannabis, said her son would leave a legacy of hope for generations.

"He never complained, he didn't stop fighting right until the end," she said.

"We need to honour his fighting spirit and continue his legacy.

"We will keep fighting for medical cannabis and make it freely available to people who need it."

She thanked the Tamworth community for its passionate support of the cause, saying the movement was "only at the start of the journey".

Family friend and journalist Helen Kapalos said Mr Haslam's philosophical approach to life was never more evident than in his last interview with her, just weeks before his passing.

"He said 'nothing is ever that bad, Helen. Love your family. Love your friends. Tell everyone you love them often'," she said.

"I'm heartbroken the world has lost such a beautiful soul, that his family will never be able to hold him again and that his beautiful wife Alyce will never be able to realise the beautiful dreams they had."

Premier Mike Baird described Mr Haslam as "an inspiration".

"He inspired us, he inspired me; I count it a privilege to have known him and I'm obviously terribly sad on his loss," Mr Baird said.

Mr Haslam became an unwitting poster boy for medical marijuana after using it to deal with the crushing nausea and lack of appetite from chemotherapy.

Astounded by its effects and angry the drug wasn't legal for the dying, Mr Haslam and his parents embarked on a public crusade to raise awareness and help bring dignity to the dying.

Within 10 months, the family has triggered a national conversation on medical marijuana, with both the NSW and Victorian governments almost certain to legalise it.

At a medical marijuana symposium in Tamworth in November, Mr Haslam said the movement had become an "unstoppable force".

"It feels like the stress is finally lifting off our shoulders; nothing can stop it now," he said.

He is survived by wife Alyce, parents Lou and Lucy and siblings Luke and Billy.

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Dan Haslam and mother Lucy have captured the attention of international news outlet Al Jazeera with their campaign to legalise cannabis for the terminally ill. Photo: Gareth Gardner

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Lou and Lucy Haslam (left and second from right) are spearheading a campaign to have cannabis legalised for terminally ill patients, like their son Dan (second from left). The push also has the support of Dan's wife Alyce (right). Photo: Geoff O'Neill

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MAY 2013: Morning warning for young people - Thirty VIPs – people who have a longstanding commitment to the Cancer Council cause and have raised more than $1000 – were present at the launch of the  the 20th anniversary of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, at which local man Dan Haslam spoke to guests and Farrer students about his personal experiences with cancer.

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