Montreal is mourning the loss of one of its musical legends today as famed folk singer Kate McGarrigle passed away from a rare form of cancer, clear cell sarcoma, on the night of Monday, January 18th. According to Canwest News, McGarrigle died in her home in Montreal surrounded by her family after succumbing to the disease she had been fighting since 2006.
McGarrigle is best known for performing with her sister Anna as the McGarrigle sisters, a duo which released multiple successful albums between 1976 and 2005. Her musical abilities allowed her to perform with some of music’s most influential names, from Leonard Cohen to Elvis Costello on his television show in 2008 (video here).
McGarrigle’s battle with cancer led her to start the Kate McGarrigle Fund in 2008 at the McGill University Health Centre, the Montreal University she attended as an engeneering student. Sarcoma affects connective tissues like fat, bone and cartilage, and represents only about 1 per cent of new cancer diagnoses in the United States each year according to American Cancer Society statistics.
From two Junos, a Governor General's Award, and even membership in the Order of Canada, to the Log Driver's Waltz we all watched on television as children, there is little doubt as to McGarrigle’s legacy in the Canadian music industry. Her passing has received extensive media coverage in Montreal and throughout Canada, many of which have been linked below. Rufus Wainright left a touching message on his website concerning the passing of his mother, concluding with “I will miss you mother, my sweet and valiant explorer.”
To donate to the Kate McGarrigle Fund, visit the fund's website or phone 514-931-5656.
Some coverage of her passing:
It has also been covered by Montreal Celebrity Headlines Examiner Kara Hughes here.