Friday, March 8, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, March 8, 2013

Canadian music legend Stompin’ Tom Connors dead at 77

In a final message to fans released after his death on Wednesday night, Canadian country music star Stompin’ Tom Connors issued an appeal for Canadians to “keep the Maple Leaf flying high.”

“It was a long, hard, bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world,” said Mr. Connors in the message, which was posted to his website. “I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.”

Mr. Connors died in Peterborough, Ont., at the age of 77 from “natural causes,” according to spokesman Brian Edwards.

Mr. Edwards said the musician, rarely seen without his signature black cowboy hat and stomping cowboy boots, knew his health was declining and had written the message shortly before his death.

On Wednesday night, in one of the first of many online tributes, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the musician a “true Canadian original.”

Born Thomas Charles Connors, the musician earned the name “Stompin’ Tom” for his propensity to pound the floor with his left foot during performances and will probably be best remembered for The Hockey Song, a 1973 hit that remains on standard rotation at hockey arenas around the world. (Source: National Post)