Author and broadcaster Pierre Berton, "a great Canadian voice" whose numerous books on history and culture contributed to the nation's collective identity, has died at age 84.
"I think he was like the godfather of Canadian history," said his longtime friend, agent and manager Elsa Franklin. "People respect the fact that he fought for the country, in a sense, to make people aware of it. And he loved the country."
Franklin said Berton had an enlarged heart, congestive heart failure and diabetes, "so these things take their toll."
"He did what he could and he was still writing, but the last two weeks he just went downhill. And the heart just wasn't pumping."
Berton was in York Central Hospital until recently, where his wife Janet was also hospitalized for a broken hip. He was moved to Sunnybrook hospital Monday and died of heart failure Tuesday, surrounded by many family members - including his wife in a wheelchair, Franklin said.
While he was at York Central he said at one point "Well, I'll get my typewriter and I'll write some poetry," Franklin reported.