Stompin’ Tom Connors dies of natural causes at 77

Canadian music icon Stompin' Tom Connors has passed away Wednesday evening of natural causes at his home at the age of 77.

The music legend is probably best known for his song "The Hockey Song," but also recorded hits such as "Sudbury Saturday Night," "Bud The Spud", "Tillsonburg," "Big Joe Mufferaw" and many more.

"He is synonymous with the word Canada," said Brian Edwards, President of Rocklands Entertainment, to Yahoo! Canada News. "He was so popular it was beyond belief."

Rocklands Entertainment notified people through a statement on the website Stompintom.com.

To give people an idea of how popular Stompin' Tom was, Edwards talked about a poll which showed 97.6 per cent of Canadians knew who he was and only 58 per cent knew who the Prime Minister was.

"Everyone can relate to it (his songs)," said Edwards. "From a governor general to a steelworker in Hamilton, it's such a rarity."

His family gave the staff at stompintom.com a message he wanted passed along upon his death:

Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.

It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it's 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.

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.

I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.

"We have lost a true Canadian original. R.I.P. Stompin' Tom Connors," tweeted Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "You played the best game that could be played."

Stompin' Tom was born Thomas Charles Connors in Saint John, New Brunswick on February 9th, 1936. He was separated from his parents at a young age and raised by foster parents in Skinners Pond, P.E.I. until he was 13. He used this experiences living in poverty, orphanages and hitchhiking in his songs. He was trying to put a Canadian stamp on music and in 1976 returned all six of his Juno awards to protest the Americanization of the Canadian Music Industry.

He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, has his own postage stamp and is the recipient of both the Queens Gold and Diamond Jubilee medals.

He is survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters and several grandchildren.

A celebration of life is planned for March 13 in Peterborough, Ont. The family is requesting people make donations to local food banks and homeless shelters in lieu of flowers.

And you can bet people will be singing loudly every time "The Hockey Song" plays in arenas all over Canada for the next little while.