March 30, 2016 12:03 AM EDT

Former Canadian Cabinet minister Jean Lapierre was killed in a plane crash, along with his wife, sister and two brothers, while en route to his father’s funeral in eastern Quebec. He was 59.

The twin-engined aircraft went down in fog and freezing rain as it came in to land on the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Tuesday, according to the Canadian news service CBC. All seven people aboard died, including two crew members. Canada’s transportation safety board will investigate the crash.

Known for his good humor, Lapierre started his political career in 1979 and within five years became Canada’s youngest minister at the age of 28. He would go on to serve as Transport Minister from July 2004 to February 2006 before making a career in the media as a political commentator.

Colleagues and friends were quick to express sorrow. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Lapierre’s death “a great loss to the political world.” And Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre described Lapierre as “a man of dignity” who “always made a difference in people’s lives,” at a news conference, CBC reports.



Write to Mark Rivett-Carnac at

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