Spirit Of The West’s John Mann Remembered As A ‘Superb And Fearless Performer’

John Mann, lead singer of Vancouver-based band Spirit of the West, has died after a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Surrounded by friends and loving family until the end, all were reminded of John’s rich legacy,” the band said in a message posted to its Facebook page Wednesday.

READ MORE: Spirit of the West’s John Mann lends his voice to Alzheimer’s Society music project

“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.”

Spirit of the West frontman John Mann performs his final concert in Vancouver, Saturday, April 16, 2016.
Spirit of the West frontman John Mann performs his final concert in Vancouver, Saturday, April 16, 2016. — THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Mann, 57, suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s. He went public with diagnosis in 2014, when he was 51.

In a 2016 interview with Dawna Friesen of Global News, Mann said he wasn’t angry about having Alzheimer’s.

“Sad though — you get sad sometimes,” added his wife Jill Daum, who was by his side.

Mann agreed.

READ MORE: John Mann, lead singer of Spirit of the West, battles Alzheimer’s in documentary ‘Spirit Unforgettable’

Spirit of the West, a Juno-nominated folk-rock group formed in 1983, is known for hits such as And if Venice is Sinking and Home for a Rest. 

The band also appeared in the documentary Spirit Unforgettable, which chronicled the lead-up to their last Toronto show at Massey Hall in 2015.

Spirit of the West performed its final shows at home in Vancouver in April of 2016.

News of Mann’s death prompted an outpouring of grief and tributes on social media.

The Toronto band Lowest of the Low called Mann “a great talent who left an indelible mark on Canadian music.”

“Rest in peace, fellow traveller,” the band said in a message posted to Twitter.

Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea fame said that he was among those who counted Mann as a friend.

“John Mann was the smartest musician I ever met, a wonderful storyteller, a superb and fearless performer, a volcano of energy and a great friend.”

“Thanks for the music, never giving up (and) sharing your story,” comedian Mark Critch said on Twitter.

Mann leaves behind his wife and two children, Harlan and Hattie.

The band said a private memorial will be held at a later date.

 

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