Ken Pickering – the co-founder and artistic director of the TD International Jazz Festival –has lost his battle with cancer.
His wife, Christine Fedina, confirmed he passed away during the early morning hours of August 10.
“Dear friends. It is with a shattered heart that I bring you the news that I lost the love of my life, my soulmate, my everything, my dear sweet Ken in the early hours of this morning,” wrote Fedina on Facebook.
“Sadly the cancer had spread to the point where treatment was no longer possible.”
Pickering co-founded the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society—the organization that produces the Vancouver International Jazz Festival— in 1985.
“Today is the worst, saddest day. After a short battle with cancer, founding artistic director @ken_pickering passed away peacefully early this AM. We will miss him terribly,” tweeted Coastal Jazz on August 10.
Today is the worst, saddest day. After a short battle with cancer, founding artistic director @ken_pickering passed away peacefully early this AM. We will miss him terribly. pic.twitter.com/YSCFugb3JM
— Coastal Jazz (@coastaljazz) August 11, 2018
Pickering’s passing had a profound effect on the international jazz community as tributes poured in on social media.
Rest in peace @ken_pickering, longtime director of the Vancouver Jazz Festival and Coastal Jazz and Blues Society — a passionate, knowledgable, and tireless advocate for creative music, and one of the kindest, most generous, most genuine individuals I have ever encountered.
— Darcy James Argue (@darcyjamesargue) August 11, 2018
What a tremendous loss to so many. Ken was always filled with so much passion and enthusiasm for the music and the musicians. We will miss him dearly.
— Rudresh Mahanthappa (@rudreshm) August 11, 2018
Sad news today. One of music’s visionaries passed away today. Ken Pickering was the long-time Artistic Director of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society in Vancouver. A trail blazer of music. Many owe Ken much. Thank you Ken!! pic.twitter.com/9F1yL9S5HA
— John Korsrud (@KorsrudJohn) August 11, 2018
the saddest news possible: beloved friend, leader, mentor, music zealot Ken PIckering, dead of cancer yesterday. All of us at Jazz Festivals Canada feel this loss profoundly with unalterable sadness. Ken loved and was loved; his beautiful Chris offers beautiful tribute. so so sad
— Catherine (@jazzcog) August 11, 2018
Earlier this year, Pickering said he was too ill to attend this year’s jazz festival. A memorial is being planned in his memory.