Ralph Klein Memorial Scheduled for Friday

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Former Alberta premier Ralph Klein. (via Legislative Assembly of Alberta.)

A public memorial service for former Alberta premier Ralph Klein will be held Friday April 5 at Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall.

Klein died last Friday at the age of 70 following a two-year battle with dementia and also suffered from chronic lung problems.

Longtime friend Rod Love told CTV News that Klein’s family declined the offer of a state funeral, wanting instead to hold a memorial in his hometown of Calgary.

“Mrs. Klein and the family say he walked into the Old Calgary City Hall as a 26-year-old kid reporter and Mrs. Klein just said that’s where it all started and that’s where I want it to end,” Love told The Canadian Press during an interview with outside his home on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would attend the memorial.

Following news of Klein’s death, messages of condolence came pouring in from politicians and the public, remembering one of Alberta’s most influential leaders.

The Prime Minister tweeted, “Laureen & I join Albertans & Canadians in paying tribute to Ralph Klein. We have lost a unique & significant leader.”

Current Alberta Premier Alison Redford released a statement on her website saying, “His passing is a loss to us all. On behalf of all my colleagues in the government caucus and my family, I want to offer my heartfelt condolences to his wife Colleen and their family during this very difficult time. He will be dearly missed.”

Liberal MP Bob Rae weighed in also, calling Klein an “original” and “gifted politician”.

An online tribute page has been set up where those who wish to can share their memories of Klein.