Stompin' Tom Connors, whose toe-tapping musical spirit and strong patriotism established him as one of Canada's biggest cultural icons, has died. He died at age of 77 on Wednesday, March 6 at 5 P.M. of natural causes, Connors' promoter Brian Edwards said.
Connor died at his house in Ontario, surrounded by his family. "He's such a national treasure," said Rudy Blair, 680News entertainment reporter. "All his music was about one thing that was important to him and that was this nation, Canada. He's sorely going to be missed."
On Twitter, Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolence, "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 also 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."
Connor was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, on February 9, 1936 to an unwed teenage mother and raised by foster parents in Skinners Pond, Prince Edward Island, until the age of 13. At age of 28, he was short five cents for a beer, and paid it by playing a few songs which turned into a 14-month contract.
He was known as "Stompin' Tom" for tapping his boot on a wooden board in rhythm to his playing, and was rarely seen in public without his signature black cowboy hat. He became a Canadian icon with songs like "The Hockey Song", "Sudbury Saturday Night", and "Bud The Spud".
Knowing his health was declining, Connors penned a letter for his fans. He demanded the letter to be published after his death. "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," he wrote.