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Philip Gould: When I Die (VIDEO)

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A photographer who documented the final weeks of Tony Blair's former pollster, before he died of cancer, has given an intimate account of the "direct, delightful, sad and sobering conversations" they shared.

Lord Gould, who was one of the main architects of New Labour, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2008 and was given three months to live in the summer of 2011. He died in November at the age of 61.

In the final days of his life he and his family commissioned a short film documenting his quest to find purpose and meaning in what he called “The Death Zone”.

Tasked with the shoot, director and photographer Adrian Steirn documented his two-week conversation with Lord Gould in the film When I Die.

"It is only when you are told you are going to die ... [that] life screams at you in its intensity," Lord Gould says in the film.

Lord Gould describes his final journey as "the most exciting and most extraordinary period" of his life and talks about having “more moments of happiness in the last five months than in the last few years".

"As long as I look death in the eye and as long as I accept that I can choose the death that I seek and the death that I choose I have some freedom. I have some power," he says.

"I have some possibility to shape for myself my own death and at that moment I have a kind of freedom."

Alongside the film, Steirn has produced a photo essay which gives a glimpse into what it was like for both men as they came to terms with his death.

“When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone” by Philip Gould is published by Little Brown and available on 19th April 2012, £14.99.

Proceeds from the book will go to the National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Fund and donations can be made at justgiving.com/nogcf. Donations to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity can be made at royalmarsden.org/philipgould