The music of Spirit of The West has been a part of my life since my early teens. The band's lead singer and oft-time song writer, John Mann, was a joyful beast on stage. I saw SOTW live on a number of occasions over the years. They were great, every time. John's energetic rapport with the audience made sure of that. But my favorite time seeing John perform was when he was touring his solo album, Mister Mann. The show was intimate, quiet and lovely. It's a happy memory for me.
John Mann passed away today at the age of 57 due to complications from early onset Alzheimer disease.
From Spirit of the West's homepage:
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.
After what must have been a terrifying, exhausting experience, John is finally home for a rest.
Photo: Drhaggis, Wikipedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)