Popular Calgary artist Jason Gogo dies suddenly

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WATCH: He was an internationally renowned Calgary artist with a long list of celebrity clients. Family and friends are mourning the loss of 51-year-old Jason Gogo, who died suddenly Tuesday night. As Jill Croteau reports, those who loved him are struggling with the gravity of his loss – Nov 15, 2018

Jason Gogo died on the eve of his 51st birthday celebration. It’s not known how he died but family said it was sudden and unexpected.

They are waiting for official medical results to determine the cause. Friends are expressing immense grief over the loss.

Gogo was internationally recognized for his artistic masterpieces. He got the attention of celebrity clients who adored his work. Longtime friend, Zane Novak said Gogo was magnetic.

Friends pose for a photo with Jason Gogo. Zan Novak

“We were moths to a flame. Love him or hate him, you couldn’t ignore him and you were drawn to him.”

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“If you met him for five minutes, it was the most intense five minutes of your life. His art was the same way. Not everyone liked Gogo paintings. They were vibrant, brilliant, loud but you take a longer look and stand in front of it and mediate, you see the intricacy, and detail was astounding and that’s when you saw the beauty,” Novak said.

Other close friends are still in shock. Cassandra Raugust had just spent his birthday celebrations with him and got the news of his passing hours later.

“Jason is a salt of the earth kind of guy. When you walk away, you think, that’s probably one of the best human beings I ever met. You want to be around him and suck in his energy. To talk to him about politics, his love of art and the Indigenous community,” Raugust said.

“He found a way to live his mantra — service before self.”

Gogo was humble about his own successes. He never hesitated to mentor other artists to inspire them beyond their own potential. Ania Basak said she will be eternally grateful to him for helping her launch her career.

Jason Gogo. Rafal Wegiel

“Not a lot of people want to help without any hidden intention and Jason was straightforward,” Basak said. “I’ve always had a huge respect for Jason. He helped me a lot.”

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Gogo’s loved ones say he is someone who cannot be replaced. He was such a success, he could have lived in cities like Los Angeles and New York, but his heart was always in Calgary. Friends say he had so much pride for the city.

“Whether it was Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses or Trailer Park Boys, the first person they hit up was Jason Gogo. He was so dynamic, to capture him was almost an impossibility, to have known him was a privilege and to lose him was immeasurable,” Novak said.

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