Al Balding, the first Canadian to win a PGA Tour event, passed away on Sunday. ((Don Heupel/Associated Press))

Al Balding, the first Canadian to win a PGA Tour event, died of cancer on Sunday at his home in Mississauga, Ont. He was 82.

Stephen Ross, the Royal Canadian Golf Association's executive director, called Balding "a champion of the Canadian golf community for over half a century."

"He has been a stalwart of the game and a tremendous representative of Canada. His death is a great loss to Canadian golf and we at the RCGA wish to express our sincere condolences to his wife Mo, their two children and their families."

Balding made history when he won the Mayfair Open in 1955, becoming the first Canadian to record a victory on the Tour.

He finished sixth on the Tour money list in 1957, when he won the Miami Beach Open, the West Palm Beach Open and the Havana International.

Balding won the Canadian Professional Golf Association championship four times (1955, 1956, 1963 and 1970) and paired up with George Knudson to represent Canada and win the team event at the 1968 World Cup of Golf.

He also enjoyed a successful career on the senior circuit, capturing the CPGA's senior title in 2000 at the age of 76. He was one of the 40 original seniors on the U.S. Senior Tour.

Balding was elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1968 and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 1984.

Balding is survived by his wife Moreen, son Alan and his daughter Erin.

with files from Canadian Press