RIP: Quebec record producer André Di Cesare

André Di Cesare, who propelled the career of Martine St-Clair, Éric Lapointe and Richard Huet, died in a Montreal hospital Sunday, following a long illness. He was 70.

His sister, Johanne Di Cesare, confirmed his death on Tuesday, Boxing Day.

A major player in the music scene in the 1980s and 1990s, Di Cesare launched his label Star Records in 1982 with the medley album, Ballroom Orchestra featuring swinging arrangements of standards such as “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Tuxedo Junction.”

Located in Verdun, his company, which first aimed to produce pianist André Gagnon's albums, quickly expanded to launch other Quebec stars, including Martine St-Clair, Patrick Norman, Roch Voisine and Éric Lapointe.

It was Voisine more than any other artist that Di Cesare had success with. The bilingual New Brunswick singer-songwriter with matinee idol looks sold more than a million albums in Canada between 1989 and 1994, and a million-plus in Europe where his hit single "Hélène" was No. 1 for nine weeks on the French Singles Chart. The album bearing the same name sat in the top 10 on the Euro chart for 40 weeks in 1989 and 113 weeks in the top 50.

 In recent years, he managed the career of singer-songwriter William Deslauriers.

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