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Canadian entrepreneur Daniel Langlois and partner found dead in Caribbean

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Canadian entrepreneur Daniel Langlois and partner found dead in Caribbean
A big name in Quebec's film industry is presumed dead on the island of Dominica after local authorities found two burned bodies in a vehicle on Friday – Dec 3, 2023

A well-known Quebec film entrepreneur and philanthropist along with his partner have been found dead in the Caribbean, where they owned a luxury resort.

According to multiple reports, Daniel Langlois, 66, and Dominique Marchand, 58, were found inside a burned vehicle on Friday after having gone missing for several days on the small volcanic island of Dominica, where they recently opened up their off-grid hotel in 2022.

The Daniel Langlois Foundation updated its website on Monday to say the founder of film software company Softimage and his partner died “in tragic circumstances” near the resort they owned.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) confirmed on Sunday that it had been made aware of the presumed deaths of two Canadians on the island, but did not provide any further details.

“Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of the Canadian citizens involved,” said GAC media relations officer Marilyne Guèvremont in a statement sent to Global News. She added that Canadian officials are continuing to monitor the situation and are working with local authorities.

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Rayburn Blackmoore, Dominica’s national security minister, said in an address Monday on the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation that police received a call about a “potential homicide arson” at about 7 a.m. Friday.

Four “people of interest” have been taken into custody, Blackmoore said, including one Dominica national and three non-nationals. He also said he had made contact with Canadian officials to express the Caribbean nation’s regret and “to give the assurance of Dominica’s dedication to solving this crime.”

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According to Quebec media, Langlois made over $200 million back in 1994 on the sale of his 3D animation software company Softimage, which he founded in 1986. The software was used in movies like Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean. It was purchased by Microsoft, but the company remained in Montreal.

He then founded art-house cinema Cinéma Excentris in 1999, co-founded the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, and set up a foundation in his name to support technology-related projects in the arts and sciences.

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Multiple figures in politics and Quebec’s cultural industry reacted to the news on Sunday, including federal minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, who called Langlois a visionary in digital technologies and cinema who left a lasting impact. “His legacy reflects his innovative spirit,” she wrote in a statement.

Langlois and his partner had reportedly lived on the Caribbean island between Guadeloupe and Martinique for many years. They opened their self-sustaining luxury Coulibri Ridge ecotourism resort just a year ago. It won a design award shortly thereafter.

According to the island’s local media, the couple had been reported missing and the burned vehicle matched the one they were driving. The bodies were found after authorities were alerted about a vehicle engulfed in flames.

The extent of the fire rendered the bodies unidentifiable, Dominica News Online said, adding that authorities were able to link the Quebecers to the incident due to circumstantial evidence.

Langlois previously owned a private club in Montreal, club 357c, which closed in 2019. The establishment was implicated in Quebec’s major political scandal, the Charbonneau Commission, back in 2011.

He also founded a hurricane aid organization to help rebuild island communities after Hurricane Maria in 2017, and purchased the summit of Mount Pinnacle in Coaticook, Que. in the Eastern Townships near the U.S. border to protect the summit’s flora and fauna.

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Langlois has been honoured as a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec in 1999 and Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, and holds honorary doctorates from the universities of McGill, Ottawa, Concordia, Sherbrooke, and Québec à Montréal.

with files from The Canadian Press

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