The news everyone knew would come but still tough to hear, singer John Mann of the Canadian folk band Spirit of the West has passed away from the result of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I never heard of SOTW until one day, when someone I knew in college, a friend from Canada visited her and told me about the band since I liked Carbon Leaf, Dropkick Murphys and Young Dubliners.
I saw John perform for the first and only time at Central Park Summer Stage (photos here) several years ago when the band played for Canada Day.
It was a last minute trip to Central Park to see the band I’ve been listening to for over a decade. He was quite the performer, jumping around like crazy like he was in a punk band. I was amazed at his singing and stage presence, hamming it up for the cameras and I loved every minute of it. So sad and currently listening to SOTW’s music in his honor. Rest Easy John….
The band posted the sad news on their Facebook page this morning:
With deep sadness we announce that John Fraser Mann (OBC) has passed away peacefully in Vancouver, the inevitable result of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease with which he was diagnosed several years ago.
Surrounded by friends and loving family until the end, all were reminded of John’s rich legacy. He was a potent force in music, acting — onstage, in movies and on television, and was world renowned as a songwriter. As well, he was a foresightful activist and charitable figure for several worthwhile organizations. His work will resound long after his untimely passing.
His career spanned nearly 40 years and included multiple film roles, numerous star turns in theatre, and fame as lead singer and spell-binding front-person of Canadian musical group ‘Spirit of the West’.
John was a man of uncommon courage, was a loyal and beloved friend, a gentleman of great social conscience, and a soul brimming with creativity and enthusiasm. Most importantly he was a loving father to Harlan & Hattie and a wonderful husband to Jill Daum.
A private memorial service will be held later. John Mann’s family thank you for privacy at this difficult time.
Here’s some videos of John in his element: