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Stuart McLean, 'The Vinyl Cafe' radio host, dead at 68

By Wade Sheridan
Stuart McLean, shown onstage at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg on March 18, 2008, was a Canadian radio broadcaster, comedian and author known for his distinctive voice. McLean died on February 15, 2017 at the age of 68. File Photo by Alana Elliott/Flickr
Stuart McLean, shown onstage at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg on March 18, 2008, was a Canadian radio broadcaster, comedian and author known for his distinctive voice. McLean died on February 15, 2017 at the age of 68. File Photo by Alana Elliott/Flickr

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Canadian radio legend Stuart McLean, best known as the host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Cafe, has died at the age of 68.

McLean died in Toronto on Wednesday after a battle with melanoma cancer, Billboard reports.

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"We are heartbroken," the Facebook page for The Vinyl Cafe noted.

"Stuart connected us – to our country and to each other. He entertained us, he made us think, he made us smile. Occasionally he made us cry. And, through all of that, he reminded us that life is made up of small moments. We never know which ones will be forgotten and which ones will stay with us forever."

A variety show, The Vinyl Cafe launched in 1994 and featured music and fictional stories about Dave and his wife who own a second-hand record store.

The program went into repeats in November of 2015 after McLean was diagnosed with cancer. In December, he announced on CBC's website that he would require further treatment that would continue to put the show on hiatus.

"I don't think airing repeats is fair to those of you who listen every week and have been so loyal over these past two decades," he wrote at the time. "So, for the time being, I'm going to step aside and make room for others to share their work on the radio. Starting in January 2017, we won't be airing The Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio, Sirius XM 169 or podcast. Public Radio stations in the USA will be airing episodes of Vinyl Cafe Stories until the end of February 2017."

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In addition to his radio career, McLean was a bestselling author in Canada, selling more than one million copies of his Vinyl Cafe book series that was also published in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

As news of his death spreads, a number of celebrities have taken to social media to pay their respects, including composer and Arcade Fire collaborator Owen Pallet and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"This is terrible news. Stuart was a great man and a great friend, my heart is broken," Pallet wrote.

"On the Vinyl Cafe and in communities across the country, Stuart McLean told uniquely Canadian stories. We'll miss his humour and humanity," Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

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