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03/31/2016 15:47 EDT | Updated 04/01/2017 01:12 EDT

Jean Lapierre's family, hometown of Bassin remember him

Jean Lapierre's children have issued a brief statement, thanking everyone for their support in the wake of their father's death.

The one-time politician, broadcaster and political analyst died in a plane crash on the Magdalen Islands on Tuesday, along with his wife, three of his siblings and the flight crew of two.

They had been on their way to prepare for the funeral of Lapierre's father, Raymond.

Lapierre's children 'deeply moved'

"On a personal note, we, Jean's children, want to say that we have been deeply moved by the flood of tributes to our father. He was our rock, our anchor, and a great dad and grand-dad. Your thoughts will help us get through this terrible time. Salut, salut, papa. We love you and your memory will be with us always."

— signed Marie-Anne and Jean-Michel Lapierre

Lapierres' extended families offer 'word of thanks'

"Words cannot express the pain that has afflicted our families since yesterday. In this time of grief, we sincerely thank all the people who have sent us kind words and thoughts following the deaths of our beloved Jean Lapierre, Nicole Beaulieu, Martine Lapierre, Marc Lapierre and Louis Lapierre.

Your messages give us strength. We thank the emergency responders, medical personnel and residents of the Magdalen Islands for their professionalism and compassion. We have been touched by their dignity and solidarity.

They have done Magdalen Islanders proud. We are also saddened by the deaths of the members of the crew, Pascal Gosselin and Fabrice Labourel. Our thoughts are with their loved ones."

— signed the Lapierre, Beaulieu, Boudreau and Brillant families

Jean Lapierre's hometown 'overcome with grief'

Villagers in Bassin, the town of 1200 on Amherst Island where Lapierre was raised, remember him as a "brilliant" student and friend.

People who grew up with the political commentator and former cabinet minister say he always stayed connected to his hometown. Many say they are "overcome with grief."

"When we found out it was him, I had goose bumps," said Anne-Marie Cyr about the moment she learned of the fatal plane crash that killed all seven aboard.

"Jean was our neighbour, and for his mother, it's very, very tragic," Cyr said.

Cyr went to school with Lapierre in Bassin, and she remembers the prediction her teacher made about Lapierre.

"He said, 'Jean, I'm sure you are going to become an MP.'"

He went on to become Canada's youngest member of parliament, a federal cabinet minister and a political commentator.

His success did not surprise people in Bassin or on the Magdalen Islands.

"He was always very brilliant, very smart," Cyr said of the man who was elected high school president.

"We are proud of him. Magdalen Islanders are proud of him," said Cyr.

Lapierre's teacher remembers 'a brilliant student'

Lapierre's high school history teacher at the École Polyvalente des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Urbain Renaud, remembers a student who wanted to know about everything.

"He was an exceptional student, and I'm not saying that to boast. That was that," Renaud said.

Sometimes, Renaud said, he had to warn the young Lapierre to calm down because he would ask too many questions.

"Other students couldn't ask questions," he recalled.

"'Give a chance to the others, Jean,'" Renaud said he would tell his student.

At one point, Renaud said he punished him by placing Lapierre's desk next to his.

"'Don't become scatterbrained, because you'll fail,'" Renaud said he told him. 

"But that never happened. He did really well for himself."

Fondation Madeli-aide

Renaud also described Lapierre as a person who gave back to his community.

When the organization Fondation Madeli-aide was formed in 1998 to provide grants to Magdalen Islanders who wanted to pursue post-secondary studies off-island, Lapierre used his contacts to organize a 5 à 7 to fundraise for the new foundation.

"One cheque for a thousand here, another for two thousand there," recalled Renaud. By the end of the event, Lapierre had raised $45,000 for the new charity.

"The Islands were always part of his life, and they were his place," said Renaud.