Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Stompin' Tom Connors dead at 77

Stompin’Tom Connors backstage at the SOCAN Awards in 2009, where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. (Photo: Grant W. Martin Photography)
March 7, 2013

Legendary Canadian country-folk icon, fierce patriot, and SOCAN member Stompin' Tom Connors, one of Canada's most widely recognized and celebrated singer-songwriters, has died of natural causes at age 77 in his adopted hometown of Peterborough, Ontario.

Connors knew his health was declining and uploaded a message for his fans on his website a few days before his death. In the message, Connors says Canada kept him "inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places."

Connors was a kind of unofficial Canadian poet laureate, and songs like "Canada Day, Up Canada Way," "The Hockey Song," "Bud the Spud," and "Sudbury Saturday Night" are regarded as virtual national anthems, thanks to their widespread popularity and unabashed embrace of all things Canadian.

In 2009, Connors captured SOCAN’s top honour, taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his impressive repertoire. His place in Canadian music was cemented with numerous awards, honourary doctorates and his recognition as an Officer of the Order of Canada. “Somebody’s trying to get rid of me,” Connors joked in accepting the SOCAN award for his entire life’s work, “but I’m telling you I’m coming back again and again. Fifty albums!? There’s going to be 50 more if you let me keep going.”

On Twitter, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said "we have lost a true Canadian original. R.I.P. Stompin' Tom Connors. You played the best game that could be played." The National Hockey League tweeted "Sad to hear that legendary Canadian Stompin' Tom Connors has passed. His legacy lives on in arenas every time 'The Hockey Song' is played."

Connors is survived by his wife Lena, two sons, two daughters and several grandchildren.