Former provincial health minister David Caplan died after a “tragic fire accident” in his north Toronto home, according to his family.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by his sudden death. He was 54 and left us much too soon,” said a statement from the family.
Earlier this week, Toronto police launched a sudden death investigation. On Saturday they said the death is not considered suspicious, but the investigation is ongoing.
Toronto Fire Services, which are investigating the incident alongside police, said they were called to Caplan’s home on Wednesday night.
Toronto paramedics have said emergency crews transported a man with life-threatening injuries to hospital.
Police spokeswoman Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said an autopsy was conducted Friday but the results have not been released.
Caplan’s family said the late Liberal politician “fought tirelessly” for social justice across Ontario.
“David had a special ability to bring people together to focus on what we have in common rather than what keeps us apart,” said the family statement.
“While David was a public champion to so many people in this community and across the province, to us he was part of a large, but tightly knit and loving family.”
Caplan served in Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet when the Liberals rose to power in 2003.
He was forced out as health minister in 2009 over the eHealth scandal in which millions of dollars went to consultants with government ties, and over expense account abuses. Many felt Caplan had been treated unfairly, particularly since most of the abuses at the agency took place under his predecessor.
Caplan, who also served as infrastructure minister, remained in office until 2011, when he and several other prominent Liberals chose not to run for re-election.
Politicians of all stripes have described him as a dedicated and hard-working public servant.
Caplan’s funeral will be held Sunday morning.