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Sophie Wilmès resigns from federal government to support husband battling brain cancer
Former Belgian prime minister Sophie Wilmès has definitively stepped down as foreign minister and deputy prime minister, the federal government announced on Thursday. Her resignation has been accepted by King Philippe, RTBF reports.
Wilmès had taken temporary leave of absence in April after her husband Chris Stone was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
In a statement, she said that her husband's illness wouldl be a "difficult battle" that she wanted to fight alongside him and the couple’s three children.
"My current functions within the government would not allow it. It is with emotion that I always think of those who are also fighting against the disease. I thank from the bottom of my heart the very many people, from all walks of life, who have shown us and still show us their support on a daily basis," she said.
Prime minister Alexander De Croo offered his warm thanks to Wilmès for her commitment and dedication to the country.
"The choice that Sophie Wilmès is making today is a courageous choice. It’s a choice worthy of the sincere person she is. It’s a choice that makes us all reflect on the meaning of life and that reminds us of its priorities," he said.
De Croo had this message for his former colleague: “Our government is losing a great lady, but above all I want tell Sophie that we are all, at this moment, by her side in the fight she is waging with Christopher."
Wilmès’ husband is an Australian businessman and former Australian rules footballer. He’s an active member of the Royal Brussels Cricket Club.
Photo: Olivier Matthys/Belga