Nfld. & Labrador

Ron Hynes's nephew Joel Thomas Hynes says addiction killed musical legend

Joel Thomas Hynes has written a lengthy, raw and passionate Facebook post about his uncle Ron Hynes, and how the St. John's-born music legend battled his addiction right up to his death.

'He remained a hard-core addict right to his final days,' says nephew of music legend who died Nov.19

Ron Hynes, the St. John's-born music legend, died earlier this month after battling cancer. His nephew says his addictions caused his death. (Greg Locke photo.)

The nephew of  Ron Hynes has written a lengthy, raw and passionate Facebook post about his uncle's battle with addiction, saying it's that struggle that killed the St. John's-born music legend.

"He remained a hard-core addict right to his final days. And it killed him," wrote Joel Thomas Hynes, who is also a musician, as well as writer, actor and filmmaker.

Ron Hynes died Nov. 19 after battling cancer, a fact his nephew does not dispute.

But in the post Tuesday afternoon, Joel Thomas Hynes wrote that cancer only sped up the damage from his uncle's problems with unspecified addictions.

"Cancer was a seemingly inevitable symptom of the much darker, much more aggressive, hungrier 'disease' of addiction'," wrote Hynes, adding his uncle was destitute at the time of his death.

"Ron has no property to call his own, had sold all his priceless, historic guitars for a pittance to feed his demons and line the pockets of drug dealers."

Hynes lamented that this uncle was not able to retire to Ferryland, the small community where he grew up. 

Cry for help

Joel Thomas Hynes, a recovering addict himself, wrote that the province is in the midst of an addictions and mental health emergency.

Joel Thomas Hynes's message has been shared more than 4,000 times since its posting on Tuesday. (HarperCollins)

"It takes an average of three months for an addict to get just an assessment for counselling," wrote Hynes.

"We are crying out for real leadership. We are f***ing DYING for proper facilities to treat our addictions and mental illnesses."

Hynes blamed the recent prosperity from oil for taking a toll.  

"With all that money came more drugs than our little island could possibly cope with. And after all that nothing has been done — we're in a recession now for another ten years," lamented Hynes.

Hynes urged people to demand better programs and facilities for those dealing with addictions and mental illness.

"You know someone right now who is suffering like Ron suffered. Don't let another day pass. Educate yourself. Stand up. Demand a better outcome."

Comments

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.