Canadian country star Ronnie Prophet dead at 80

Country music star Ronnie Prophet, a familiar face on Canadian television in the 1970s and 1980s, has died at the age of 80.

Singer, guitarist known for his television work and one-man shows mixing music and comedy

Canadian country music star Ronnie Prophet, seen here in 1974, has died at the age of 80. (Paul Smith/CBC Still Photo Collection)

Country music star Ronnie Prophet, a familiar face on Canadian television in the 1970s and 1980s, has died at the age of 80.

Prophet passed away Friday morning, according to a Facebook update posted by spokesperson Dave Bancroft on behalf of the entertainer's family.

"There are no words to express the heartache of losing my best friend and the love of my life. Ronnie's sense of humour has sustained me through the years no matter the circumstances even to the very last," his wife, Canadian country singer Glory-Anne Prophet, wrote in a Facebook message posted Friday afternoon.

Ronald Prophet was born in Hawkesbury, Ont., in 1937 and raised on his family's farm near Calumet, Que. 

After performing in Ottawa and Montreal early on in his career, he eventually moved to the U.S. He established himself in Nashville in 1969. There, he continued building his career as a performer and, after a few years, took over a nightclub that he renamed Ronnie Prophet's Carousel Club.

Ronnie Prophet accepts a trophy at the 1979 Juno Awards. (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Prophet rose to fame in the 1970s, when the multifacted entertainer hosted a series of country music programs for CBC-TV and CTV. Shows like his namesake The Ronnie Prophet Show mixed music with impersonations and comedy, while also welcoming popular country performers of the day such as Crystal Gayle, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams Jr., George Jones and Don Everly.

He continued his successful recording career through the 1980s, ultimately releasing more than two dozen albums and earning two Juno Awards as well as accolades from the Canadian Country Music Association and the Big Country Awards.

He was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999, with Terri Clark honouring him in a tribute as "a showman, a gentleman, a true Canadian treasure."

Prophet is survived by his wife, their children and grandchildren.

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