Canadian Musician Michael Fonfara Dies At 74


Tributes are being shared for Michael Fonfara, the veteran Canadian musician who died Friday in Toronto after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 74.

“Brilliant musician,” tweeted Dave Bidini of the Rheostatics, for whom Fonfara played the organ on “Rearview” on the band’s 2019 album Here Come the Wolves.

“He was an incredible talent,” read a tweet from Grievous Angels, whose 1999 album 22 Trailer Park was produced by Fonfara. “Michael … taught us so much about music and the business … He made recording an adventure.”

Grievous Angels singer Charlie Angus tweeted that Fonfara was "a really wonderful and brilliantly talented guy.”

Canadian blues artist Spencer Mackenzie shared: “I’ve played with him a small handful of times in my life and I am nothing but fortunate to have had the opportunity.”

Fonfara, who hailed from the Niagara region of Ontario, played keyboards on nine of Lou Reed’s albums between 1974 and 2005 and was a producer on two. He also played on a pair of tracks on Foreigner’s 1981’s album 4 – including the hit “Urgent.”

At home, he was a longtime member of Downchild Blues Band, with whom he won a Juno Award in 2014.

“He’s the best musician I’ve ever worked with,” said Downchild leader and co-founder Donnie Walsh, in a release. Bassist Gary Kendall Fonfara “a creative genius.”

Fonfara is survived by his wife Avril, daughters Ashley and Ciara, and grandchildren Brooklyn, Camden, Jamie, and Jaxon.

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