Skip to main content

Donald Marshall Jr. after native rights ruling in 2001.ANDREW VAUGHAN

The family of Nova Scotia native icon Donald Marshall Jr. confirms he's in hospital in very bad condition.

David Marshall said on Wednesday that his brother is "terminally ill" and in the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, N.S.

CTV News reported that Mr. Marshall was being treated for complications from a double lung transplant six years ago.

The 55-year-old resident of Membertou, N.S., was reportedly admitted to hospital five days earlier.

CTV reports that Mr. Marshall's family said he's sedated and breathing with a ventilator.

"All we know now is he's in hospital," brother Stephen Marshall said.

"All the family's gathering around. So until we find out more, you know . . . right now is family time."

Mr. Marshall is best known for his wrongful conviction for murder in 1971, and 11 years in prison for the crime he did not commit.

He was exonerated by a royal commission in 1990 that determined systemic racism contributed to the miscarriage of justice.

Mr. Marshall was also the central figure in a landmark 1999 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that guaranteed native rights to hunt and fish to make a moderate living.