Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jan 21st 2010 3:30PM by Jonathan Dekel
"It is comforting to know that he didn't suffer," reads the memorial announcement on Quarrington's website. "He was calm and quiet, holding hands with those who were closest to him."
Quarrington, who lost his struggle with lung cancer in the early hours of January 21, was best known for his 1989 book, 'Whale Music' -- about a reclusive Brian Wilson-esque rock star -- which won the prestigious Governor General's Award for Fiction and was described by Penthouse Magazine as "the best novel written about rock 'n 'roll."
He spent much of his career writing about his three passions: music, hockey and fishing, and infused his novels -- including the award-winning 'King Leary,' 'Galveston,' and 'The Ravine' -- with the same sharp wit and humour that defined the man himself.
Born and raised in Toronto, Quarrington first gained notice as a musician with his 1979 Canadian hit, 'Baby and the Blues,' recorded with partner Martin Worthy.
He began writing novels at age 25 while playing bass for the legendary Toronto rock band Joe Hall and the Continental Drift, and would continue to balance his literary and musical worlds through country-blues ensemble Porkbelly Futures and his lyrical work with the Rheostatics.
A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre, Quarrington also had a successful career as a screenwriter. Adapting his own 'Whale Music' in 1994, which was nominated for several Genie awards -- the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars -- he also wrote the Gemini award-winning screenplay for the 1991 film 'Perfectly Normal,' as well as the screenplay for the Deepa Mehta directed 'Camilla,' and was a writer for several popular television shows, including 'Due South.'
The prolific Quarrington was also an accomplished playwright and journalist, penning several scripts for the stage, including 'The Invention of Poetry' and 'Dying is Easy' and winning three National Magazine Awards.
Diagnosed with lung cancer last spring, Quarrington worked at a fevered pace to squeeze as much as he could into his remaining time. His final months found him hard at work on his first solo CD, a third Porkbelly Futures release, as well as a memoir titled 'Cigar Box Banjo.'
Even as his health deteriorated, Quarrington never lost his trademark good humour and joie de vivre. "I [thought] I was one of the luckiest guys alive. And when I got the diagnosis, I thought, 'Well, my luck has just run out,'" he said in an interview with the CBC last year. "But actually, it hasn't really. You find out how lucky you are in terms of friends and people around you."
He leaves two daughters, Carson and Flannery.