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Longtime Canadian finance minister, who stepped down last month, has died

Former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty, a fixture on the world financial stage who stepped down last month, has died. He was 64.

Flaherty's family released a statement that said he died Thursday in Ottawa. No cause was released.

Flaherty, who had the job since 2006, was the longest-serving finance minister among the Group of Seven leading industrial economies until he announced he was stepping down March 18 to return to the private sector.

He battled a rare skin disease over the last year, but had said his decision to leave politics was not related.

Flaherty was Prime Minister Stephen Harper's only finance minister since Harper took power eight years ago. He is credited with helping get Canada back on track to a balanced budget after pumping stimulus money into the economy following the 2008 financial crisis.