Mere hours before the country woke to the dawn of Christmas Eve, Oscar Emmanuel Peterson left this world. It was a sad day for the city of Montreal, the place where Peterson was born and lived the majority of his life. His upbringing in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy/ La Petite-Bourgogne surrounded him by the jazz culture that cultivated the musician and true artist that we knew and adored.
Oscar Peterson’s life has been immortalized by seven Grammy awards, his election into the Juno Awards Hall of Fame, the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Canada Post created a postage stamp in celebration of his 80th birthday. Concordia even renamed the Loyola Concert Hall to the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall in 1999 in his honour.
Oscar Peterson died in his Mississauga, Ontario home of kidney failure. He was 82. Peterson leaves behind seven children, Kelly (his fourth wife) and
their 16-year-old daughter, Celine.
“The young Oscar was without question the greatest piano player of his time . the greatest piano player of jazz,” Former Ontario premier Bob Rae told the CBC. He praised Peterson for “the dexterity of his right hand, the stride, the power of his left. As he got older, the depth of his humanity came out in his compositions,” added Rae.