SYDNEY -- Gordie Gosse, the former NDP MLA for Sydney-Whitney Pier, has died following a battle with cancer.

Gosse was first elected in 2003 and served as Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2013.

Gosse announced in April 2014 that he had been diagnosed with cancer and would be reducing his duties while undergoing treatment for the disease.

A year later he announced that he would be leaving politics for health reasons.

Gosse died Thursday morning at the age of 64.

It's been nearly five years since Gosse and his wife walked hand and hand into the Nova Scotia Legislature - ending his time as MLA and beginning his battle with throat cancer.

Nowhere was more impacted by Gosse's loss than his home community of Whitney Pier.

"I can say the club wouldn't be here without his efforts," said Chester Borden, the executive director of the Whitney Pier Boys and Girls Club.

Gosse was one of the founding members of the club.

"I always called them 'Gordie's kids,'" Borden said. "You ask them on how they changed their lives and interacted with them."

Gosse left the club and entered politics in 2003, serving 12 years, three of them as speaker of the legislature.

"The thing about Gordie I remember as a speaker is that he was a riot," said NDP leader Gary Burrill. "You never knew what was going to come out of him."

In Whitney Pier, plans are underway to name a green space outside the boys and girls club in Gosse's memory.

"I promised Gordie that if anything happened when he was going into politics I would take over the club, and here we stand today," Borden said. "He will be missed, Gordie will be missed, rest in peace brother."

Gosse leaves behind a wife and two sons.

Gosse had a reputation of being one of the most likeable and popular politicians.

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston issued a statement on Twitter, saying that Gosse always strived to make life better for those in his community.

“Gordie Gosse gave his all to representing the people of Sydney-Whitney Pier,” said Houston. “With his passing, our province loses an incredible public servant.”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil also issued a statement, noting Gosse’s advocacy for HPV vaccinations for boys in the province.

“His passionate advocacy for HPV vaccination for boys in Nova Scotia will leave a lasting impact on our province,” he said. “My thoughts are with his family, loved ones and community.”