Stars remember Haydain Neale

Prominent Canadian music stars and family members of Haydain Neale, the former frontman for Jacksoul, sang his praises at a benefit concert Monday night, remembering him as “a treasure.”

Nelly Furtado performs during Can’t Stop Loving You: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Haydain Neale in Toronto Monday.

TORONTO — Prominent Canadian music stars and family members of Haydain Neale, the former frontman for Jacksoul, sang his praises at a benefit concert Monday night, remembering him as “a treasure.”

Nelly Furtado, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, k-os, and Chantal Kreviazuk were among the artists who performed in honour of Neale, who died Nov. 22 at the age of 39, after a seven-month battle with lung cancer.

He died shortly before the release of Jacksoul’s comeback album, “SOULmate,” which his family said was a gift to fans for their loving support after he was seriously injured in a traffic accident in the summer of 2007.

“In the two years and four months (since the accident) my family has rode this emotional rollercoaster,” his daughter Yasmin said, and recalled a lasting memory the Neale family shared before he died.

“Battling every disbelieving doctor, every negative nurse, and pleading with some angels to keep my dad’s positive energy here, it was all worth it in that one moment,” she said during an emotional address to the crowd at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre.

Neale’s wife, Michaela, said his songs were mostly about love and encouraged the audience to embrace the message in his music.

“Those of us who are fortunate enough to have been touched by Hayden’s music directly know that the subject he wrote most often was about love, in fact love was the guiding force in his daily life,” she said.

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