The music world is mourning a Canadian legend.
On Thursday morning, folk and country musician Ian Tyson passed away, his former wife and music partner Sylvia Tyson confirmed to the CBC. He was 89.
According to Sylvia, her ex-husband had undergone a major surgery several years ago, but had never fully recovered.
The couple were best known as the duo Ian & Sylvia, who began performing together in 1959, continuing until their divorce in 1975.
Ian & Sylvia were among the most influential Canadian folk musicians, with their song “Four Strong Winds”, written by Ian, often named one of the country’s best songs of all time.
They also had hits with songs like “You Were on My Mind”, “Someday Soon” and more.
Ian continued on in his solo career following his split from Sylvia, and in 1989 he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
“I sat in with a young band at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto and they wanted me to do ‘Four Strong Winds’ with them. It was quite a young audience and I didn’t really expect that kind of response but everybody in the crowd sang ‘Four Strong Winds’,” Sylvia told CBC News of Ian’s influence on Canadian music. “It’s kind of like a Canadian national anthem.”
On Twitter, fans and fellow artists shared remembrances of Ian.
RIP the great Ian Tyson. I had the honour of meeting him at the Canadian Country Music awards in 2001 as part of a Lightfoot tribute with Anne Murray too. Big night for me to meet all of these legends RS pic.twitter.com/02nGf1HA8z
— Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) December 29, 2022
Rest in peace, Ian Tyson.🕊️ https://t.co/78tOY5M76B
— Robbie Robertson (@r0bbier0berts0n) December 29, 2022
Ian Tyson defined Canadian folk music. He was a true original. He wrote so many incredible songs. Four Strong Winds remains the defining Canadian song.
But all his songs manage to capture this nation’s great breadth of land and hope.
Go to the angels. https://t.co/ZT7KxHV1pF
— Charlie Angus (@CharlieAngusNDP) December 29, 2022
The family of the late Canadian country legend Ian Tyson, CM AOE, has confirmed the singer-songwriter died from on-going health complications on December 29th, 2022 at his ranch in southern Alberta, Canada at age 89. https://t.co/aR0CGGUiIb
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) December 29, 2022
— Kathleen Petty (@kathleen_petty) December 29, 2022