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DEANE CAMERON, R.I.P.

Deane Cameron, the label executive who championed Canadian music for nearly four decades, died Thursday. He was 65.

iHeartRadio News reported that he died after suffering a heart attack while on a walk at his cottage on Eagle Lake outside North Bay, about 200 miles north of Toronto.

Since 2015, he has been President and CEO of the Toronto music venues Massey Hall and Roy Thomas Hall.

Cameron spent 35 years at EMI Music Canada, rising to President and CEO of the label in 1988. He worked with Nickelback, Serena Ryder, Luba, Anne Murray, Glass Tiger, The Rankin Family and countless others before leaving the company in 2012 when the label merged with Universal Music.

He was key in helping many of artists find success in foreign markets, among them April Wine and Corey Hart. When he took the helm in ’88, he was the youngest President of a major music label in Canadian history.

A drummer, Cameron first worked in the warehouse of EMI Music Canada and another distribution company before getting a job as manager of talent acquisition at EMI Canada in 1977; he eventually became VP of A&R before getting the top job.

The Polaris Music Prize tweeted: "He touched so many lives in Canadian music. He's the classic record exec; a musical patriot; a lover of artists and was an early champion of Polaris. He'll be dearly and massively missed."

In 2011, the Junos honored him with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award and the Canadian Country Music Association gave him the Hank Smith Award of Excellence from. A year earlier, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. He served on the board of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and helped develop its charitable program MusiCounts.

The Junos tweeted: “He was a trailblazer in the Canadian music industry, dedicated to artist development, and part of the CARAS & @MusiCounts family from the beginning. The impact from his legacy will be felt forever.”

Musicians tweeted out their respects as well.

Nickelback wrote “He was a champion of ours when we had few, made those around him feel like family and his belief and passion for Canadian music and Artists was second to none. Rest in power #CaptainCanada.”

Rush tweeted: “So sad to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of Deane Cameron, a tremendous and longtime supporter of Canadian musicians and a driving force behind the Massey Hall revitalization project. He will be missed.”

And Andy Kim wrote: “What happens to your body & soul when your friend calls you & sets a time to meet next week, only to find out today he’s passed on without warning? I crumble to my knees, thankful for his friendship. Deane Cameron was a pioneer soldier in the Canadian Music Scene. Onto the light.”

 

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