All Members of Parliament and others in the elaborate chamber stood silently at the opening of Monday’s session, in tribute to a fellow MP who died over the weekend. Ivar Odnes, who represented Oppland County for the Center Party, died Friday after a brief but brutal illness.
Odnes, age 55, had reported himself in September that he had suddenly received a serious cancer diagnosis. He was originally from the mountain town of Vågå but lived most recently in Østre Toten.
“Ivar was a clear, warm and accommodating politician,” Center Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum told state broadcaster NRK. “This feels unreal, because he was a close colleague right up until recent days. He will be deeply missed.”
The entire Parliament, including most members of the government who were in attendance for the annual presentation of their state budget proposal, stood silently in tribute at the request of the president of the Parliament, Tone Trøen.
Odnes had won a seat in Parliament for the period from 2017 to 2021 after the Center Party won 10.3 percent of the vote in the last election. He’d also been a substitute MP during the 2013-2017 session and most recently was a member of the Parliament’s transport and communications committee.
He was praised for being open about his illness, which also cost his brother’s life just a year ago. In a candid interview with NRK last month, Odnes said he had “learned a lot” from his brother on how to tackle a fatal illness. He claimed he would not spend time being bitter.
“You first have some anxiety over how it will be for yourself and those around you,” Odnes told NRK. “I decided to value the days I have left and use my time with those closest to me. When I found out my days were numbered, I felt I have achieved and experienced a lot in my life. I don’t fear death in any way.”