Toronto

Renowned Canadian keyboardist Michael Fonfara dies in Toronto after battling cancer

Internationally renowned Canadian keyboard player Michael Fonfara died in a Toronto hospital on Friday.  He was 74.

Born in Stevensville, Ont., Fonfara played on 9 of the late Lou Reed's albums

Downchild Blues Band: (left to right) Michael Fonfara, Chuck Jackson, Pat Carey, Mike Fitzpatrick, Gary Kendall, and Donnie Walsh (front). Fonfara died in a Toronto hospital on Friday after battling cancer. ((CP Photo) )

Internationally renowned Canadian keyboard player Michael Fonfara died in a Toronto hospital on Friday.  He was 74.

The sad news came in an emailed statement from publicist Eric Alper, who said Fonfara had been battling cancer for two years.

Born in Stevensville, Ont., Fonfara played on nine of the late Lou Reed's albums between 1974 and 2005, including Sally Can't Dance, Rock and Roll HeartStreet Hassle, and The Bells, which Fonfara also executive produced.

Lauded by Alper as a "supremely talented musician," Fonfara also performed on Foreigner's iconic album 4, including their major hit Urgent.

Fonfara had been a 30-year plus member of Canadian blues legends Downchild, and some of the others he recorded with include The Everly Brothers, Rough Trade, Rhinoceros and Electric Flag.

His final recording was Downchild's Live At The Toronto Jazz Festival, recorded at their 50th Anniversary party in 2019, where he performed live alongside special guest stars Dan Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer and David Wilcox.

Fonfara is survived by his wife Avril, his daughters Ashley and Ciara and his grandchildren Brooklyn, Camden, Jamie, and Jaxon.

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