Vancouver's "King of Swing," Dal Richards, gave back to the community his whole life and did so right until his death on New Year's Eve at age 97.

The music icon was honoured with the Order of Canada, the Order of B.C. and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and was an inductee of the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Over the years, he hosted national radio and television shows, helped launch the careers of talented young musicians and played countless concerts.

On Saturday, hundreds of people packed Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver for a public memorial for the music legend.

Richards helped Vancouver ring in the new year for decades. Muriel Richards, Dal Richard's widow, says 2015 would have been his 80th year performing. This year, he had plans to perform at the Hotel Vancouver on New Year's Eve.

But Muriel says her husband cancelled those plans when he felt he could not put on the same kind of show he always has, for all those years.

"At that point in time, he decided ... 'I don't think I better do it.' He didn't want to not put on the best show."

Dal Richards

The big bandleader first picked up an instrument when he was a young boy. He never stopped playing after that. (Dal Richards/Facebook)

Muriel says Dal Richards spent his last moments alive surrounded by friends and family. Famous musicians from all over the world called to say goodbye that week, including Michael Bublé.

It was a poetic end and Muriel recalled the moment.

"Someone said, 'he didn't have a gig here, but he had one somewhere and he didn't want to be late for the call,' which was Dal's big rule — you're never late."

Dal delivered on his last gig: a reading at Christ Church Cathedral, on Christmas Eve, 2015.

People can support the Dal Richards Foundation, a fund that supports music programs for children, by donating here.

To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Paying tribute to Dal Richards.