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Quebec TV, radio host Paul Houde dies at age 69

MONTREAL — Quebec actor, television and radio host Paul Houde died suddenly on Saturday morning due to complications following surgery, his family announced on social media. He was 69.

"It is with a broken heart that we must announce the passing of our beloved Paul," his wife, Francine Audette, wrote on Facebook Saturday afternoon, noting he had recently undergone a major procedure to remove a mass from his brain.

"We immediately sense the deep affection you all had for Paul, and we are touched by it," she wrote, asking for privacy for her family. "Thank you in advance for your thoughts about Paul and us."

Houde  — affectionately known in Quebec as "morning man" — had a prolific career in the province's media scene, including as a radio host on CKAC and 98.5 FM. He also appeared in the beloved comedy film series "Les Boys" in which he played the character Fern, an erudite goalie who was able to recite minute details of professional player statistics.

Houde abruptly left his last position in radio, as host of "Le Club du Matin" on BPM Sports, last October.

Tributes and reactions to his death poured in on social media Saturday from his fans, collaborators and employers. BPM Sports called him a "great man in the business." 

Charles Perreault, CEO of Quebec sports television network RDS, said in a statement posted online that the province had lost "an extraordinarily charismatic communicator, whose passion for and knowledge of sports earned the admiration and respect of all Quebecers."

On X, formerly Twitter, the Montreal Canadiens called Houde "a man of exceptional quality" and "a monument in the Quebec media landscape."

Quebec Premier François Legault noted his public and private kindness, as well as his memorable humour. 

"It was always a pleasure to do an interview with him," Legault wrote in a post on X.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Houde's death as "tragic" and an "enormous loss." Trudeau underlined what he called Houde's "incredible wisdom, his endless talents and his genuine kindness."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2024.

— With files from Caroline Chatelard in Montreal.

Thomas MacDonald, The Canadian Press

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