December 29, 2016 9:00 am
Updated: December 29, 2016 10:03 am

Notable Canadians who died in 2016

Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe passed away in June at the age of 88.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, HO - Crown Media United States, Andrew Eccles
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From artists to politicians to athletes, Canada lost a number of influential citizens this year.

Gone but not forgotten, here is a look back at some of the notable Canadians who passed in 2016.

Rene Angélil Jan. 16, 1942 — Jan. 14, 2016


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Rene Angelil, husband of singer Celine Dion, died at his Las Vegas home at the age of 73 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Angélil was Dion’s manager, mentor and singing coach since she was a teenager. As his health declined, Dion took time away from her career to take care of him.

A meticulously planned funeral for Angélil was held in Montreal on Jan. 22; the event drew more than 2,000 people to Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica.

Constance Glube Nov. 23, 1931 — Feb. 15, 2016. Nova Scotia’s first female Supreme Court judge, Constance Glube, died at 84.

Don Getty Aug. 30, 1933 – Feb. 26, 2016

Former Alberta premier Don Getty passed away at the age of 82. Getty was credited for helping to steer Alberta through the economic slowdown and falling energy prices of the 1980s.

Getty also played for the Edmonton Eskimos. He played for 10 years as a quarterback, winning two Grey Cups.

Rob Ford May 28, 1969 – Mar. 22, 2016

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 46.

A larger-than-life and divisive personality, Ford often made headlines for his behaviour rather than his policy. Despite the controversy, Ford was remembered as a dedicated man of the people, particularly by the members of so-called Ford Nation.

Ford left behind his wife, Renata, and two young children.

Jim Hillyer July 8, 1974 — Mar. 23, 2016

Conservative MP Jim Hillyer died at the age of 41 in his office, just off Parliament Hill.

Hillyer was a cancer survivor and had a bone marrow transplant in 2003. After his passing, Hillyer’s family said the 13 years after his cancer battle were a “bonus.”

Jean Lapierre May 7, 1956 — Mar. 29, 2016. Former federal politician and Quebec political commentator Jean-Charles Lapierre died in a plane crash while he was en route to his father’s funeral. He was 59.

The crash also killed Lapierre’s wife, sister, two brothers and the plane’s pilot and co-pilot.

John Ridsdell Sept. 9, 1947 — Apr. 25, 2016

Calgary man John Ridsdel was kidnapped in the Philippines and beheaded by extremist group Abu Sayyaf after a ransom deadline passed. He’d been held hostage for six months.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later said the deaths of Ridsdell and fellow captive Robert Hall was his greatest regret of 2016.

Morley Safer Nov. 8, 1931 — May 19, 2016

Just a week after retiring, legendary broadcaster Morley Safer passed away at the age of 84.

Toronto-born Safer spent 46 years in the news business, most notably as a 60 Minutes correspondent. The program aired an hour-long special on Safer’s career in the days before his death.

Norman Tait May 20, 1941 — May 21, 2016. Nisga’a First Nation artist Norman Tait, whose work is displayed around the world, died at age 75.

Rod Zimmer Dec. 19 1942 — June 7, 2016. Athlete, fundraiser, corporate executive and former Manitoba senator Rod Zimmer died at the age of 73.

Gordie Howe March 31, 1928 — June 10, 2016

Hockey legend Gordie Howe passed away at the age of 88, leaving a legacy of four Stanley Cup wins, six Hart Trophies, and even a bridge named in his honour.

Following his death hockey great Wayne Gretzky, who has credited Howe for his playing career, called Howe the “greatest hockey player ever.”

Mr. Hockey and his wife Colleen’s ashes have been interred in the Howe statue outside of  Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre.

Robert Hall 1949 — June 13, 2016. Hall was executed by extremist group Abu Sayyaf following months of captivity after he was kidnapped in the Philippines along with fellow Canadian John Ridsdel.

Austin Clarke July 26, 1934 — June 26, 2016. The Giller Prize-winning author passed away at age 81.

Ryan Jimmo Nov. 27, 1981 — June 26, 2016. MMA fighter Jimmo, 34, nicknamed “The Big Deal,” was struck by a vehicle and killed in a hit and run in south Edmonton.

Mauril Belanger June 15, 1955 — Aug. 16, 2016. The Liberal MP who championed a more gender-neutral O Canada passed away at age 61 after a battle with ALS.

WATCH: Remembering Mauril Belanger 

Elsie Wayne Apr. 20, 1932 — Aug. 23, 2016. Remembered as a larger-than-life figure, former MP and Saint John mayor Elsie Wayne passed away at 84.

W.P. Kinsella May 25, 1935 — Sept. 16, 2016. Renowned Canadian author W. P. Kinsella passed away at the age of 81, choosing to end his life by assisted suicide.

Annie Pootoogook May 11, 1969 — Sept. 19, 2016. The death of the 46-year-old Inuit artist, whose body was found in the Rideau River, was deemed “suspicious’ by police.

Jim Prentice July 20, 1956 — Oct. 13, 2016

A day of golfing ended tragically for Jim Prentice and three friends in October, when the four were killed in a plane crash near Kelowna, B.C.

The former Alberta premier and federal cabinet minister was remembered as a tireless public servant.

“Jim was a strong voice for the people of Alberta and for the people of Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

“He was highly-respected and well-liked in the House of Commons across all party lines because he brought an intelligent, honest and straightforward approach to everything he did.”

Prentice, recently retired from politics, was working as an advisor and writing a book at the time of his death.

Leonard Cohen Sept. 21, 1934 — Nov. 7, 2016

Legendary Canadian singer, songwriter, author and poet Leonard Cohen died at 82 years old.

Cohen, born in Quebec in 1934, was revered in Canada and around the world.

He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as well as the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has been called one of the most influential authors of our time. He was also a companion of the Order of Canada.

Dawn Coe-Jones Oct. 19, 1960 — Nov. 12, 2016. Canadian golfer Dawn Coe-Jones died at age 56 following a battle with bone cancer.

Janet Wright Mar. 8, 1945 — Nov. 14, 2016

Actor Janet Wright died at age 71.

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Award-winning stage and screen actor Janet Wright, best known for her portrayal of the long-suffering matriarch on TV show Corner Gas, died at age 71.

Wright and her sister co-founded a theatre in their home province of Saskatchewan in 1974. Over her career she appeared in dozens of productions, working for nearly every major theatre company in Canada.

Over the years she was honoured with two Genie awards as well as a Gemini for ensemble comedy performance.

Alan Thicke Mar. 1, 1947 — Dec. 13, 2016

One of the most iconic TV dads of all time, actor Alan Thicke died suddenly in December, after suffering a heart attack while playing hockey with his son.

Perhaps best known for his role as Jason Seaver in Growing Pains, Thicke’s death sparked grief from former co-stars and everyday Canadians, alike.

With files from Global News and the Canadian Press

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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