Elfin Saddle's Jordan McKenzie remembered as 'brilliant, thoughtful soul'

"Jordan was a brilliant, inspired, sensitive, compassionate, gentle, creative, serious, and thoughtful soul."

36-year-old multi-instrumentalist found dead near the shoreline of Hornby Island, B.C.

Jordan McKenzie was one half of the musical project Elfin Saddle. He worked alongside his partner Emi Honda to create music known for its uniquely haunting sound. (Constellation Records)

The Canadian arts community is mourning the loss of Elfin Saddle's Jordan McKenzie, who died this past week.

The 36-year-old multi-instrumentalist was found dead Monday, Jan.18 near the shoreline of Hornby Island, B.C.

Jordan McKenzie was one half of the musical project Elfin Saddle. He worked alongside his partner Emi Honda to create music known for its uniquely haunting sound.

The pair had worked on several projects in Montreal including an installation at Montréal, arts interculturels (MAI) before moving to Hornby Island a few years ago to "pursue their dream of breathing fresher air and living more closely and harmoniously with nature," according to their record label.

As news of McKenzie's death emerged, social media was flooded with messages of support and sympathy, many of them from the Montreal music community.

Montreal's Constellation Records described McKenzie as a "beautiful person" in a memorial published on its website.

It stated, "We are shattered and saddened beyond words. Our hearts go out to his beloved partner Emi, and to his family and friends."

"Jordan was a brilliant, inspired, sensitive, compassionate, gentle, creative, serious, and thoughtful soul," the message continues, "truly one of the finest people we've had the privilege of knowing and working with. Emi is one of those people too, and she is very much in our thoughts."

McKenzie's death an accident

Constellation Records wrote on its website that McKenzie passed away accidentally.

According to the Hornby Island Fire Department, McKenzie's body was found by emergency crews who had been out looking for him since he was flagged as missing earlier that evening.

In a message on its website, the fire department shared its condolences.

"We are extremely saddened at this event. We all knew Jordan and many of us were close friends. Our hearts go out to his family and friends in the community," it stated.

Soon-to-be father was excited to have a baby

GoFundMe.com, a crowdfunding website, has already pulled in more $14,000 for Honda, who is expecting a child.

In the fundraiser description, Honda writes, "thank you for your love and kindness. I am passing through this difficult time supported by each of your sweet and kind words. They are helping me a lot."

Honda goes on to say that all she knows is that McKenzie fell from a cliff by accident. She says he wasn't drinking or using drugs.

She adds that while it's frustrating for him to die so inexplicably, it's important to remember him for who he was. 

"The night before his departure, he was in tears of joy and happiness about having a baby. Almost every night since we found out about the pregnancy, we talked how lucky and happy we are and how Hornby is the perfect place to have our baby," Honda writes.

She goes on to say that she hopes McKenzie will be remembered "as a gentle, kind, honest and creative person who always tried to do his best."

Honda adds that McKenzie will live on in his child.

"Soon he will come back as a little baby girl. I hope you will see Jordan twinkling inside her. This way, he will live again."

With files from Jeanette Kelly


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.