Canadian country singer and TV personality Ronnie Prophet dead at 80

TORONTO — Canadian country star Ronnie Prophet, who rose to fame in the 1970s through a string of singles and variety TV shows, has died.

The singer’s widow Glory-Anne Prophet says in a Facebook post that “there are no words to express the heartache” of losing her “best friend and the love of (her) life.”

A family spokesman broke the news with a Facebook post earlier in the day saying Prophet died Friday morning at age 80.

Prophet recorded more than 25 albums and charted five singles during the 1970s on the Billboard Country charts, collecting accolades including the country male vocalist of the year Juno award in 1978 and 1979.

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member was born in Hawkesbury, Ont., and raised in Calumet, Que., and began his career at age 15 in Ottawa before moving to Montreal to sing in various nightclubs.

He made his way to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Nashville but returned frequently to Canada to tour and host a succession of country music programs.

They included CBC-TV’s “Country Roads” in 1973 and ”The Ronnie Prophet Show” in 1974, and CTV’s “Grand Old Country” from 1975 to 1980, notes Historica Canada.

Prophet’s widow, with whom he recorded several duets including 1984’s “If This is Love” and 1985’s “I’m Glad We’re Bad at Something,” said in her Facebook post that his sense of humour sustained her through the years.

“Chet Atkins music was playing softly in the background till he left us for his heavenly home this morning at 8:40. He loved life, and friends, family and his fans were so important to him,” she wrote.

“His passion for music was part of who he was and it was always his wish to keep people smiling wherever he went. Thank you for all the kind and encouraging words. I will continue to read them and they will help my grieving heart of losing him but knowing that he was loved and will be missed by others. God bless you all.”

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