FILE - Stuart McLean, host of CBC Radio’s The Vinyl Cafe, is shown in Stirling, Ont. in a 2007photo. McLean concedes carting “The Vinyl Cafe” from city to city, often performing for days on end without a break can be somewhat draining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Belleville Intelligencer/ Luke Hendry

Stuart McLean, host of CBC Radio’s ‘Vinyl Cafe,’ has died

Stuart McLean, a bestselling author, journalist and humorist who entertained millions as host of the popular CBC Radio program “The Vinyl Cafe,” has died. He was 68.

His death was confirmed by the CBC.

“We were deeply saddened to learn that Stuart McLean passed away earlier today. Stuart was an exceptional storyteller who has left an indelible mark on CBC Radio and countless communities across Canada,” reads a statement from Susan Marjetti, executive director of radio and audio for CBC English Services.

In December, McLean announced he was suspending the long-running program to focus on treatment for melanoma, which he was diagnosed with in late 2015. He said his first round of immunotherapy treatment that winter was not completely successful and he needed to undergo another round this year.

The “Vinyl Cafe” radio show, which featured a mix of stories, essays and musical performances, was spun-off into bestselling books and became a touring production in 2008. The show’s stories centred on Dave, the owner of a second-hand record store, and also featured Dave’s wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie, and various friends and neighbours.

“Every week for 22 years, Stuart connected with his listeners in a way that few before him have. His Dave and Morley stories were as entertaining as they were enlightening they made us pause, reflect, but most of all laugh along together,” said Marjetti.

McLean had been upbeat about his cancer setback and told fans in an online message posted in December that he expected to return to work.

“I don’t want you to worry about me. A year ago I told you that I expected this to be just a bump in the road, not the end of the road. I still believe that to be true. I hope we will meet up again — on the radio or in theatres. We’ll make sure to tell you before that happens,” McLean wrote.

“In the meantime, look after yourselves and each other. And know that this isn’t goodbye. It’s just … so long for now.”

The CBC said a public tribute would be announced at a later date.

McLean was an officer of the Order of Canada and a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto.

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