5 talented Canadians we lost in 2013

Rita MacNeil's ashes rest in a teapot at her funeral at St. Mary's Church in Big Pond, N. S. The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Canadians mourned the loss of five exceptional talents in 2013 — five Canadian artists who had an impact on music, television and film.

From beloved icons to a popular newcomer, here is a look back at five Canadian stars who left us in 2013:

Stompin’ Tom Connors

The country-folk legend died on March 6 of kidney failure at his Ontario home. He was 77. In a message posted online, the musician known for “The Hockey Song” and “Bud the Spud” — wrote: “I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.”

Rita MacNeil

MacNeil, best known for her hit “Flying On Your Own,” passed away on April 16 in Nova Scotia following complications from recent surgery. She was 68. “She was unbelievable,” said Nipper MacLeod of Men of the Deeps. “The first time I heard her sing, it just pierced my heart. She had a special, unique voice, very powerful.”

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Cory Monteith

The Alberta-born, B.C.-raised actor died in a Vancouver hotel room on July 13 of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol. He was 31. Monteith, who was a relatively unknown actor before achieving worldwide fame on Glee, had completed a stint in rehab only weeks before his death. “There was no greater man than Cory,” said girlfriend and co-star Lea Michele. “So for the time we spent together I consider myself very lucky.”

Peter Appleyard

Appleyard, a renowned jazz musician, died of natural causes at his Ontario home on July 17. He was 84. Born in England, he came to Canada in 1951 and, two decades later, found himself sharing stages with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

August Schellenberg

Star of stage and screen, Schellenberg lost his battle with lung cancer on August 15 at his home in Texas. He was 77. The Montreal native made his film debut in 1971 after moving to Toronto. His credits included The Road to Avonlea and Due South as well as the movie The New World. But Schellenberg was perhaps best known as Randolph Johnson in three Free Willy movies and for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of Sitting Bull in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. He was also a veteran of theatre stages from coast to coast. “He was one of the finest actors that Canada had,” said director Bruce Pittman. “He was just a great person. A good and loyal friend and an outgoing, warm human being.”


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