John Carroll, long-time owner of popular White Rock restaurant Charlie Don't Surf, died Thursday from COVID-19.
Carroll founded the restaurant located at 15011 Marine Drive in 1985.
"John was someone who always spoke up for what was right," said Kyle Grant, general manager of Charlie Don't Surf.
"He looked out for us, his neighbours and his community first. He truly was a pillar of the community for over 35 years."
Jurgen Hebner, who has worked at the restaurant for four years, said Carroll was the reason he became a bartender.
"He was honestly the biggest ray of sunshine. He lit up every place he walked into with his smile and energy," he said.
"He gave us a place that felt like home and treated all of us like his own kids."
In a post on their Facebook page, restaurant staff said Carroll passed away "after a hard fought battle with COVID-19."
They wrote that Carroll was "a sassy, hard working man who was always eager to give feedback and to make his vision for the world a reality." The post has received over a hundred comments from well-wishers.
"We know he's looking down on his legacy with a wheat grass smoothie and an organic grass fed beef skewer in hand," it reads.
"We lost a mentor, and the world lost a White Rock legend."
Alex Nixon, executive director of White Rock Business Improvement Association, said Charlie Don't Surf is one of the more successful businesses in the area and an important part of the White Rock community.
Nixon said Carroll had a big impact on his staff and the business community at large.
"He was a character and a leader of the business community … I don't have enough great things to say about him."