Toronto radio personality and veteran music promoter Dave "Bookie" Bookman passed away on May 21, at age 58.
News of his passing was confirmed by Indie88, the local rock station at which he was an on-air personality. Bookman had been hospitalised for several weeks, with initial reports suggesting he had suffered a brain aneurysm.
The station posted that "We’re devastated to announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Dave “Bookie” Bookman. He left us, peacefully, at 12:45 this morning. As we mourn, we invite you to join us as we tell stories, hear yours, and of course play Bookie’s favourite music."
Prior to Indie88, Bookman had a long stint on-air at The Edge in Toronto, preceded by a period at CIUT. In the '80s, Bookman played alongside Tim Mech as folk-punk duo The Bookmen.
At the fourth annual CIMA Celebration & Awards Gala last year, he was the recipient of the Unsung Hero Award, presented by Slaight Music. The press release for that honour stated that "Dave Bookman is known for dragging indie music out of the nineties and into the ears of Toronto and all of Canada as the original tastemaker. From his twenty years at 102.1 The Edge to being part of the exciting launch of Indie88, Bookie has been living the Canadian Music life. As one of the country’s top interviewers, he has broken bread with everyone from Dave Grohl to Ray Davies. A champion of emerging artists, Bookie’s Nu Music Nite every Tuesday at the Horseshoe Tavern has been a fixture since 1993."
Nu Music Nite hosted the first Toronto gigs by such major international acts as the Old 97's, Ash, Spoon, Son Volt, Band of Horses, Matchbox 20, Whiskeytown, Eels, Nada Surf, Linkin Park, and most memorably, the 2001 local debut of The Strokes. A surprise gig by Foo Fighters in 1999 was another highlight.
Bookman's unflagging support of Canadian independent music earned him real affection from artists across the country, many of whom quickly took to social media to pay their respects.
Sloan: "We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Dave Bookman @BookieAtNight. He was a massive supporter of ours from the first time we met in the very early 90s. Toronto has lost a music scene legend. #RIPBookie."
NXNE: "We @NXNE are heartbroken by the passing of Dave “Bookie” Bookman, a great guy and a great supporter of live music, especially independent music. RIP friend."
Ben of Billy Talent: "Today Toronto, Canada, and the entire rock & roll world lost a true legend and icon, but today I lost a dear friend. Bookie was the kindest soul I ever met and a power point in my universe. There will never be another & I’ll miss ya forever."
The Trews: "RIP Bookie. You were a huge help to us in our early days, as you were to many bands. A true legend in the industry. You will be missed."
Moe Berg (TPOH): "Just devastated to hear of the passing of Dave Bookie Bookman. A hero of the Toronto music scene and a wonderful guy. Travel well, friend."
Lowest Of The Low: "Music has lost a true champion with the passing of Dave Bookman. We were always lucky to have him in our city. Rest well, old friend."
Funeral and a celebration of life details are yet to be announced.