Mario Ambrosini passes

Controversial IFP MP Mario Ambrosini will be deeply remembered fondly by some after passing away at the age of 53.

Ambrosini’s yearlong public battle against lung cancer finally came to an end on Saturday, 16 August, at his home in Cape Town.

The DA’s Wilmot James, who was a friend to Ambrosini, paid his tribute by saying “We have lost a great man in Mario Ambrosini. He was a fighter for human rights and democracy, a person of integrity, who understood and advanced our cause, and a powerful friend.”

Oriani-Ambrosini announced last year that he had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and that his doctors did not expect him to live past the Christmas of 2013. He also mentioned that he would not use chemotherapy as a treatment method as it would extend his lifespan by only a few months and cause severe side effects. He was to pursue a kind of treatment that is based on “different science.”

In February this year he pioneered for the legalisation of marijuana through a legislation that he tabled in parliament called the Medical Innovation Bill. He plead to parliament to “make provision for innovation in medical treatment and to legalise the use of cannabis for medical purpose and beneficial commercial industrial uses.”

Ambrosini was born in Rome and held Italian, US and South African citizenship. He was the son of late constitutional law professor and international lawyer Raffaele Oriani.  Ambrosini was IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s advisor from 1994 to 2004. He and Buthelezi had a firm relationship and Ambrosini later became an MP in 2009.

He leaves behind a wife and a son. The funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.