Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Singer Stompin' Tom dies aged 77

Canadian country-folk singer Stompin' Tom Connors has died aged 77 (AP/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

Country-folk singer Stompin' Tom Connors, who was one of Canada's most popular musicians, has died at the age of 77.

His promoter Brian Edwards said Connors passed away from natural causes at his home on Wednesday night.

The musician was rarely seen without his signature black cowboy hat and stomping cowboy boots.

He was best known for his songs Sudbury Saturday Night, Bud the Spud and especially The Hockey Song, a fan favourite played at hockey arenas around North America. Those three songs are played at every Toronto Maple Leafs home game.

At the city's Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night many fans took to their feet as The Hockey Song was played after Connors' death was announced.

Dubbed Stompin' Tom for his habit of pounding the floor with his left foot during performances, Connors garnered a devoted following through straight-ahead country-folk tunes that drew inspiration from his extensive travels and focused on the everyman.

Although wide commercial appeal eluded Connors for much of his four-decade career, his songs have come to be regarded as veritable national anthems thanks to their unabashed embrace of all things Canadian.

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 knew his health was declining and had posted a message on his website a few days ago, saying Canada kept him "inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit".

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