NSW Greens MP John Kaye, who was battling cancer, died Tuesday at the age of 60. He will be remembered by colleagues for his “enormous principle, energy, and commitment.”

“John passed away after a struggle with an aggressive cancer which developed in recent months. He died peacefully in his home surrounded by friends and family,” Fairfax Media quoted Greens MLC David Shoebridge as saying in a statement. “John was a tireless champion of public education, leading the national debate on education funding with an unflagging commitment to TAFE and public schools.”

He added, “Our thoughts today are with John’s partner Lynne, his sister and brothers Dina, Andrew and Stephen and their families.”

Kaye, who was elected to the Upper House of the NSW parliament in 2007, was diagnosed with cancer in February. At the time, the Greens said in a statement that the MP would require therapy and treatment which would include a hip replacement. It was further announced that Kaye would not be able to return to parliament before the end of March, the ABC reported.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said he was deeply saddened by the news of Kaye’s death. “He was a formidable advocate of the causes in which he believed,” Baird said. “Despite our political differences, I regarded him as a friend. My thoughts today are with Lynne and his family.”

A private service is expected to be held this week at the Waverley Cemetery. Details of an event celebrating Kaye’s life will also be announced shortly.

In April, the Greens MP took part in online rallies against private education funding, greyhound racing, and slam funding cuts to TAFE. His family hoped for his return to public life and thanked supporters for fulfilling his duties during his absence.

Even political foes recognised Kaye’s contribution to the state following his death.

“Sorry to learn of the death of [John Kaye], ” former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell wrote Tuesday. “Despite many political battles, I always enjoyed our chats on level 2.”