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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, dead at 99

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth, died today at 99. He was the longest-serving royal consort in British history.

His death, announced by Buckingham Palace, came more than three-and-a-half years after Philip formally stepped back from public life, a retreat that had been happening gradually for several years.

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In an interview in June 2011 with the BBC, the no-nonsense Philip spoke about “winding down” and reducing his workload as a member of the Royal Family.

“I reckon I’ve done my bit so I want to enjoy myself a bit now, with less responsibility, less frantic rushing about, less preparation, less trying to think of something to say,” he said.

His final official public engagement came on Aug, 2, 2017, when he attended a parade of Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace and met servicemen who had taken part in a charity race. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement Friday calling Philip “a man of great service to others” who maintained a special relationship with the Canadian Armed Forces and was a patron to more than 40 Canadian organizations.

“Prince Philip was a man of great purpose and conviction, who was motivated by a sense of duty to others,” he said. “He will be fondly remembered as a constant in the life of our Queen – a lifelong companion who was always at her side offering unfailing support as she carried out her duties.”

Through the Queen’s 69 years on the throne, the man whom she had called her “strength and stay” carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements and made nearly 5,500 speeches. He attended events periodically with the Queen and other members of the Royal Family after stepping back from official duties.


The Queen and Prince Philip mark her 90th birthday in Windsor, England. Elizabeth, Britain’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, turned 90 on April 21, 2016. (Annie Leibovitz/Buckingham Palace/The Associated Press)

Often viewed as a gruff curmudgeon prone to gaffes that grabbed the headlines, the 99-year-old royal was also a guiding force for the House of Windsor and sought to introduce more modern practices into an institution steeped in tradition.

  • CBC News is now live in the comments collecting your remembrances, reactions and questions about Prince Philip’s death.

He had been in hospital several times in recent years, including for hip replacement surgery in April 2018 and for treatment of a pre-existing condition in December 2019. He was in hospital again this year, returning to Windsor Castle in mid-March.

While he had retired from public duties, Philip found himself back in the public eye and at the centre of controversy in early 2019 after a Land Rover he was driving collided with a car near Sandringham, the royal estate in eastern England. 

Philip wasn’t hurt, but his vehicle rolled over, and a woman in the car suffered a broken wrist. He eventually apologized to her and said he had been dazzled by the sun while turning onto a main road. He also gave up his driver’s licence.

Pictures of him with the Queen were released occasionally over the past year, including at the time of his 99th birthday last June and for their 73rd wedding anniversary in November. During the pandemic lockdown, he and the Queen had been staying at Windsor Castle. 

Philip was born a prince of both Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921, on the dining room table at his parents’ home in Mon Repos, on the Greek island of Corfu.

Despite his birthplace, he had no Greek ancestry. His family tree includes members of the royal families of Denmark, Germany, Russia and Britain.

The Greek royal family was forced into exile in 1922 when Philip was 18 months old.

His father was Prince Andrew of Greece, whose own father was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark. Philip’s mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and the sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

WATCH | CBC’s Renée Filippone looks back at the life and legacy of Prince Philip:

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Queen Elizabeth and Britain’s longest-serving royal consort has died 2:51

Unsettled childhood

For Philip, it was an unstable, unsettled childhood. The family broke down, with his mother ill periodically and in a sanitorium. His father went off to Monte Carlo with his mistress.

As a boy, Philip attended schools in England, Germany and Scotland before joining the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, England, as a cadet, in 1939.

Through his uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the 18-year-old Philip was introduced to British royal circles. At that point, he met a 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth, his third cousin: both had Queen Victoria as a great-great-grandmother.

When the Second World War broke out, he focused on his naval career and quickly rose through the ranks. At just 21, he was appointed first lieutenant (second in command) of the destroyer HMS Wallace, which took part in the Allied landings at Sicily.

When he returned home in January 1946, Philip, who had kept in touch with Elizabeth, began courting the young princess. Their engagement was announced 18 months later.

Although most of the public embraced the union, some were unhappy with Philip’s un-British origins, and many began referring to him as “Phil the Greek.” He silenced those critics when he became a British citizen in 1947 and renounced his Greek royal titles. He became Lt. Philip Mountbatten.

He and Elizabeth were married on Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey in a wedding that helped boost British spirits still recovering from the war. He was designated a royal highness, created a knight of the Garter and awarded the title Duke of Edinburgh.

WATCH | Archive footage of Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding at Westminster Abbey: 

A young Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey in London on Nov. 20, 1947. 0:31

Naval commander

Assuming his new royal role, Philip continued to be appointed and promoted to different positions in the navy. By 1952, he had reached the rank of commander.

His naval career came to an end that year when, on a trip to Kenya, Princess Elizabeth received news that her father, King George VI, had died and that she had become Queen.

As husband of the sovereign, Philip was not crowned at the coronation ceremony in 1953.


Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth wave from a balcony at Buckingham Palace following her coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. (Associated Press)

Although his active role with the navy was finished, he continued his involvement in the armed forces. He was appointed admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, colonel-in-chief of the Army Cadet Force and air commodore-in-chief of the Air Training Corps. In 1953, he also had the duties of admiral of the fleet, field marshal and marshal of the Royal Air Force.

In February 1957, he was awarded the titular dignity of Prince of the United Kingdom and became known as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

While carving out an independent role from the Queen, he also established a reputation for blunt and controversial quips.

In 1966, he sparked outrage when he said, “British women can’t cook.” During a visit to China in 1986, he described Beijing as “ghastly” and told British students: “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”


He told a Briton he met in Hungary in 1993: “You can’t have been here that long, you haven’t got a pot-belly.”

In Australia in 2002, the prince asked an Aborigine if “you still throw spears at each other.”

He also dismissed stress counselling for servicemen in a TV documentary on the 50th anniversary of D-Day, saying, “It was part of the fortunes of war. We didn’t have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking, ‘Are you all right? Are you sure you don’t have a ghastly problem?’ You just got on with it.”

While his quips would sometimes offend, Philip was praised for his honesty.

Prince William told the BBC in November 2004 that he admired his grandfather’s occasional bluntness.

“He will tell me something I don’t want to hear and doesn’t care if I get upset about it. He knows it’s the right thing to say.”

Under scrutiny after Diana’s death

Philip came under intense scrutiny after Diana, Princess of Wales, the ex-wife of Philip and Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, died following a Paris car crash with her companion, Dodi Fayed, in 1997.

Philip and the rest of the Royal Family went into seclusion after the accident, but Philip later made a strong statement at Diana’s funeral, walking with his family behind her casket as it was carried on a carriage through the streets of London.

After the funeral, Fayed’s father, the powerful Egyptian businessman Mohammed Al-Fayed, blamed Philip for the crash. He accused Philip of ordering British secret service agents to kill Diana and Fayed because Philip didn’t want Diana to marry a Muslim.

An inquest into the accident cleared Philip of any wrongdoing, blaming the crash instead on the negligent driving of Diana and Fayed’s chauffeur and the paparazzi who were chasing them.

Although Philip reportedly had a heart condition, he maintained a busy pace and in recent years enjoyed relatively good health, punctuated by some trips to hospital. In June 2010, he underwent surgery on his left hand for carpal tunnel syndrome. He was treated in 2008 for a chest infection.

Philip spent four nights in hospital over Christmas in 2011 recovering from a successful coronary stent procedure. Nearly six months later, he missed half the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations after he was taken to hospital with a bladder infection. He later spent five days in a Scottish hospital for the same problem.

On June 2, 2013, he was admitted to a London hospital for exploratory abdominal surgery. Returning to his duties two months later, he declared it was a “great pleasure to be back in circulation.”

Philip served as president or patron of nearly 800 organizations, and he attended an average of 370 official engagements annually.


Prince Philip gestures as he speaks after attending the annual Commonwealth Observance at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2015. The observance is the biggest multifaith celebration in the U.K. (The Associated Press)

For recreation, he enjoyed sailing, cricket and carriage-driving. When he was younger he also played polo, but said age forced him to take up carriage-driving, which he jokingly called a “geriatric sport.”

Despite his busy schedule, he accompanied the Queen on her Commonwealth tours and state visits overseas, as well as on tours and visits to all parts of the United Kingdom. He visited Canada with the Queen on several occasions, their last trip together coming in the summer of 2010. 

WATCH | Philip visits Canada in 1954:

Prince Philip made a 20-day visit to Canada on his own in 1954, attending the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver and visiting the Far North. 1:07

In April 2013, Philip made an unexpected solo visit to Toronto, where he presented a new ceremonial flag to the Royal Canadian Regiment’s 3rd Battalion. He had served as the regiment’s colonel-in-chief since 1953. During that brief visit, he was also awarded the highest level of the Order of Canada by Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

He was steadfast in his support of the Queen, spending his public life two paces behind her, but always ready to help when needed. Those who knew the royal couple well say the Queen often deferred to Philip in private.

During celebrations for her Golden Jubilee on the throne in 2002, the Queen offered a tribute to the royal consort.

“He has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years,” she told the crowds.


Prince Philip stands with Princess Elizabeth and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne at the couple’s London residence at Clarence House in August 1951. Elizabeth became Queen in 1952. (Associated Press)

“And I and his whole family and this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we should ever know.”

In 2011, the Royal Mint, to mark Prince Philip’s 90th birthday, issued a commemorative £5 coin featuring a portrait of Prince Philip on one side and the Queen on the other. It was the first time a reigning monarch and consort appeared on opposite sides of a U.K. coin.

Prince Philip leaves three sons and a daughter, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
 


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Officer dead, driver fatally shot after ramming vehicle into barricade near the U.S. Capitol

A Capitol Police officer was killed Friday after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol and then emerged wielding a knife. It was the second line-of-duty death this year for a department still struggling to heal from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Video shows the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. The driver stabbed one of the officers, Pittman said. Authorities shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.

Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the suspect stabbed one of the officers. The officials spoke to AP were not authorized to publicly discuss the pending investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers,” Pittman said. “This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today.”

Police identified the slain officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department’s first responders unit.


Police identified the slain officer as William ‘Billy’ Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department’s first responders unit. (U.S. Capitol Police via AP)

Authorities said that there wasn’t an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism, though the Capitol was put on lockdown as a precaution. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the Jan. 6 riot.

The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, though most are away from the building during the current recess. The attack occurred about 100 yards (91 metres) from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol. One witness, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, said he was finishing a Good Friday service nearby when he suddenly heard three shots ring out.

It comes as the Washington region remains on edge nearly three months after a mob of armed insurrectionists loyal to former president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win.

Five people died in the Jan. 6 riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was among a badly outnumbered force trying to fight off insurrectionists seeking to overturn the election. Authorities installed a tall perimeter fence around the Capitol and for months restricted traffic along the roads closest to the building, but they had begun pulling back some of the emergency measures in recent weeks. Fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed.

Law enforcement officials identified the slain suspect as 25-year-old Noah Green. Investigators were digging into the suspect’s background and examining whether he had a mental health history as they tried to discern a motive. They were working to obtain warrants to access his online accounts.


A car that crashed into a barrier on Capitol Hill is seen on Friday. (Alex Brandon/The Associated Press)

Pittman said the suspect did not appear to have been on the police’s radar. But the attack underscores that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.

Evans is the seventh Capitol Police member to die in the line of duty in the department’s history. Two officers, one from Capitol Police and another from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, died by suicide following the Jan. 6 attack.

Almost 140 Capitol Police officers were wounded then, including officers not issued helmets who sustained head injuries and one officer with cracked ribs, according to the officers’ union. It took hours for the National Guard to arrive, a delay that has driven months of finger-pointing between key decision-makers that day.

WATCH | ‘We will get through this,’ says Capitol police chief:

Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol police, thanks the community for supporting them through an ‘extremely difficult and challenging year.’ 0:19

They were called upon soon afterward to secure the Capitol during Biden’s inauguration and faced another potential threat in early March linked to conspiracy theories falsely claiming Trump would retake the presidency.

“Today, once again, these heroes risked their lives to protect our Capitol and our Country, with the same extraordinary selflessness and spirit of service seen on January 6,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire House, we are profoundly grateful.”

The suspect had been taken to the hospital in critical condition. One of the officers who was injured was taken by police car to the hospital; the other was transported by emergency medical crews.


U.S. National Guard troops stand guard near the scene of the incident on Friday. (Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press)

The U.S. Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after the shooting and staff were told they could not enter or exit buildings. Video showed National Guard troops mobilizing near the area of the crash.

Video posted online showed a dark-coloured sedan crashed against a vehicle barrier and a police dog inspecting the vehicle. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.

U.S. President Joe Biden had just departed the White House for Camp David when the situation unfolded. As customary, he was traveling with a member of the National Security Council Staff who was expected to brief him.

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Child among 4 dead in shooting at California office building

A child was among four people killed Wednesday in a shooting at a Southern California office building that left a fifth victim and the gunman critically wounded, police said.

The violence in the city of Orange, southeast of Los Angeles, was the nation’s third mass shooting in just over two weeks.

When police arrived at the two-story structure around 5:30 p.m. local time, shots were being fired, Orange Police Lt. Jennifer Amat said. Officers opened fire and the suspect was taken to a hospital, Amat said.

It’s unclear if the suspect suffered a self-inflicted wound or was shot by police. Police provided no details on the victims other than to say one was a child and a woman was critically wounded.

In a tweet, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the killings “horrifying and heartbreaking.”

“Our hearts are with the families impacted by this terrible tragedy tonight,” he wrote.


Unidentified people comfort each other as they stand near a business building where a shooting occurred Wednesday. Police provided no details on the victims other than to say one was a child and a woman was critically wounded. (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, a California Democrat whose district includes the city of Orange, said on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened.”

Amat had no information about what may have prompted the attack. She said the shooting occurred on both levels of the building. Signs outside indicated a handful of businesses were located there, including an insurance office, a financial consulting firm, a legal services business and a phone repair store.

‘I’m just praying really hard’

People gathered outside the building after the shooting hoping to get word about loved ones.

Paul Tovar told KTLA-TV  that his brother owns a business there, Unified Homes, a mobile home broker. “He’s not answering his phone, neither’s my niece,” Tovar said. “I’m pretty scared and worried … right now I’m just praying really hard.”

Charlie Espinoza also was outside the building and told The Orange County Register that he couldn’t reach his fiancé, who works for a medical billing company.

Cody Lev, who lives across the street from the office building, told the newspaper he heard three loud pops that were spaced out, then three more. There was silence, then he heard numerous shots, followed by sirens and then more shots.

A Facebook live stream posted by a resident who lives near the office appeared to show officers carrying a motionless person from the building and officers providing aid to another person.


Investigators gather outside the Orange office building where a shooting occurred. Police said when they arrived at the two-storey structure, shots were being fired. Officers opened fire and the suspect was taken to a hospital. (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)

The killings follow a mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo., last week that left 10 dead. A week before that six Asian women were among eight people killed in three Atlanta-area spas.

The city of Orange is about 48 kilometres from Los Angeles and home to about 140,000 people. Amat said the shooting was the worst in the city since December 1997, when a gunman armed with an assault rifle attacked a California Department of Transportation maintenance yard.

Arturo Reyes Torres, 41, an equipment operator who had been fired six weeks earlier, killed four people and wounded others, including a police officer, before police killed him.

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Montreal health agency says communications with family were ‘incomplete’ after woman found dead in ER

Montreal’s West Island health agency has admitted its communications were lacking with the family of a woman who was found dead last month on the floor of a room in the emergency department of Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire, Que. 

But the family says that’s not enough.

In a statement emailed to the media this morning, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest de l’Île de Montréal said it has asked the coroner to investigate Candida Macarine’s Feb. 27 death. 

“Although the investigation is still ongoing, the CIUSSS is already able to say that its communications with the family were incomplete, especially at the time of the announcement of the death,” the statement said.

“The CIUSSS team is obviously sorry for the concerns this caused to the family of the deceased,” it continued.

Macarine died in a negative pressure isolation room that nurses in the Montreal-area hospital had warned managers about several times, saying it was difficult to see and monitor patients there.

The day of her death, Macarine’s family was told only that she had died of cardiac arrest. 

Learned circumstances of mother’s death from news report

It wasn’t until they noticed a CBC News story two weeks later about a woman found “dead and ice cold” on the floor beside her bed that they realized that woman was likely their mother.

The family and CBC News have repeatedly requested more information from the hospital during the last two weeks.

The agency finally acknowledged Tuesday that Macarine was the patient who died, and that it had failed to report the circumstances of her death to the family.

WATCH | Placido Macarine shares how it feels to know so little about his mother’s death:

The family of a woman who died at Lakeshore General Hospital in a room that staff had warned managers about for weeks only learned about the circumstances of her death after reading a CBC story earlier this week. 2:19

‘Unacceptable’

The statement comes a day after the family of Filipino heritage held a tearful news conference, accusing the hospital of racism.

In an interview with CBC Tuesday, Candida Macarine’s son Emmanuel Macarine said he wasn’t impressed with the hospital’s statement.

“No, no, I’m sorry, but for me it’s not an apology,” Macarine said.

He scoffed at the hospital’s admission that its communication with the family was “incomplete.”

“Incomplete? Well I don’t know how they tried to communicate with us! Until now, we didn’t receive anything — until after the press conference yesterday,” he said.

Head of CIUSSS offers to meet with family

The health agency intends to act on recommendations from the coroner’s investigation to “ensure that such a situation does not happen again,” CIUSSS said in its statement.

“Moreover, if it is shown that our staff acted inappropriately, the CIUSSS will not hesitate to take the decisions and actions that are necessary in such situations.”

The health agency statement didn’t explain why the family was never told of the circumstances of Macarine’s death.

In an email, a spokesperson told CBC News that the agency would not comment further until the CIUSSS CEO Lynne McVey has had a chance to meet with the family.

“Lynne McVey wrote to family members yesterday and asked to meet with them to offer her support in this difficult ordeal,” the statement said.

‘Cannot trust them anymore’

Emmanuel Macarine said the family has no immediate plans to meet with McVey.

“After all the refusals to our requests to know the truth of what happened to our mom, we cannot trust them anymore,” he said. “I mean, what are they going to say now?”

Macarine said the family would prefer to deal with the coroner’s office.

He said he and some of his brothers and sisters would hold a news conference Wednesday.

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Walter Gretzky, Canada’s greatest hockey dad, dead at 82

Canada’s most beloved hockey dad left a legacy beyond the rink. 

Walter Gretzky died Thursday at the age of 82 after a nine-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. 

Gretzky raised and coached his son, Wayne, considered by many to be the greatest NHL player of all time. 

“Everything I am is because of him. It’s as simple as that,” Wayne said in a 1996 CBC interview.  

But it was the elder Gretzky’s dedication to minor hockey and charities and his friendly demeanour for which he became so well-known to many Canadians.  

Early life

Walter Gretzky was born on Oct. 8, 1938, in Canning, Ont., northwest of Brantford, to Belarusian immigrants. 

Hockey was an early passion and he had aspirations of playing professionally in the National Hockey League. He became known as a prolific goal scorer as a teenager, playing with the Junior B Woodstock Warriors. 

But his size held him back from pursuing a professional hockey career.  At five-foot-nine and weighing 140 pounds, Gretzky was already considered small. He became ill with chicken pox before his tryout with the Junior A Toronto Marlies and was judged to be too small to advance beyond the junior level after losing weight from his illness, so he embarked on a more traditional career path. 


He married his wife, Phyllis Hockin, in 1960 and moved to nearby Brantford, where he worked as a telephone cable repairman. Wayne was born on Jan. 26, 1961, the first of the couple’s five children. 

The Gretzkys moved to a home that would accommodate their growing family and also allow for a backyard hockey rink. There, Walter helped coach and develop Wayne’s skills starting at the age of three.

Wayne credited his father’s creative drills and approach to coaching for helping him develop into the player who would become the NHL’s all-time leading scorer. 

“He taught me the basics of life as far as schooling, as far as how I treated people,” Wayne said in a 1996 interview with CBC-TV. “I don’t think there’s any question in my mind  I wouldn’t be playing professional hockey if it wasn’t for him.”

WATCH | Walter Gretzky, Canada’s hockey Dad:

How Walter Gretzky helped make The Great One great. 5:53

Walter’s contributions to minor hockey began with his first son but his dedication to the growth of young players continued long after Wayne found success. Two of Walter’s  younger sons, Keith and Brent, were also drafted by NHL teams, although only the latter saw action, playing with Tampa Bay. 

Walter coached locally in Brantford with minor league teams for years and lent his time to minor tournaments on top of his charitable endeavours. 

Far-reaching generosity

His wide-ranging involvement in charities earned him one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on a Canadian when he was named to the Order of Canada on Dec. 28, 2007. He teamed up with Wayne to organize fundraising for local, provincial and national charities. 

Among their many contributions, the two worked together to raise money for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind through a golf tournament that attracted celebrities and NHL players for years and helped raise more than $ 1 million.


New York Rangers’ Wayne Gretzky is hugged by his father Walter after being presented with a car during the pre-game ceremonies for Gretzky’s last game in the NHL on April 18, 1999. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

“In our family, we’re all Christians and we all help each other. It’s ‘Do unto others as you would like done unto yourself,’ ” Walter told Postmedia of his charitable efforts. “I’m very fortunate because I’m in a position where I can help people. Not everyone can do that.”

Other initiatives included the Wayne and Walter Gretzky Scholarship Foundation, which helps students with vision loss pursue post-secondary education.

He channelled his energy completely into coaching and charity after retiring in 1991. 

Persevered through challenges

That same year, he suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm that destroyed his short-term memory. 

Fortunately for hockey historians, he still held onto to some of his long-term memories and was able to open the door to his Brantford home to allow people to glimpse memorabilia from Wayne’s amateur career as well as the famed rink. 

Seven years after his wife lost her battle to cancer, he was diagnosed in 2012 with the degenerative disorder Parkinson’s disease when tremors in his left hand prompted a doctor’s visit.

“That hits you right in the gut,” Wayne said at a conference in Vancouver following the news of his father’s diagnosis. “Something like that happens, there’s really no cure or answer. No amount of money can solve that kind of problem.”

However, Walter didn’t let his health hold him back from public appearances. 

He is survived by his five children: Wayne, Kim, Keith, Glen and Brent, as well as several grandchildren. 

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At least 30 dead, several million still without power in U.S. after days of extreme weather

Utility crews raced Wednesday to restore power to nearly 3.4 million customers around the U.S. who were still without electricity or heat in the aftermath of a deadly winter storm, and another blast of ice and snow threatened to sow more chaos.

The latest storm front was expected to bring more hardship, especially to states that are unaccustomed to such frigid weather — parts of Texas, Arkansas and the Lower Mississippi Valley.

“There’s really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area,” said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the U.S. National Weather Service, referring to Texas.

The system was forecast to move into the Northeast on Thursday. More than 100 million people live in areas covered by some type of winter weather warning, watch or advisory, the weather service said.

At least 30 people have died in the extreme weather this week, some while struggling to find warmth inside their homes. In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning from car exhaust in their garage. Another perished as they used a fireplace to keep warm.

Record low temperatures were reported in city after city. Scientists say the polar vortex, a weather pattern that usually keeps to the Arctic, is increasingly spilling into lower latitudes and staying there longer, and global warming is partly responsible.

Rolling blackouts

Utilities from Minnesota to Texas and Mississippi have implemented rolling blackouts to ease the burden on power grids straining to meet extreme demand for heat and electricity. In Mexico, rolling blackouts Tuesday covered more than one-third of the country after the storms in Texas cut the supply of imported natural gas.

WATCH | Millions without power as much of U.S. recovers from major winter storm:

There is a scramble in Texas to stay warm and restore power to millions after a major winter storm hit. Several other states are also cleaning up after flooding and a tornado. 1:59

The worst U.S. power outages by far have been in Texas, where three million homes and businesses remained without power as of midday Wednesday. The state’s power grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said electricity had been restored to 600,000 homes and businesses by Tuesday night. Officials did not know when power would be restored, but council president Bill Magness said he hoped many customers would see at least partial service restored by later Wednesday or Thursday.

Magness also defended the decision to force outages “to prevent an event that would have been even more catastrophic than the terrible events we’ve seen this week.” 

Dashawn Walker, 33, was thrilled to find the power back on in his Dallas apartment Wednesday. He stayed at a suburban hotel Tuesday night after being without power since Sunday but said he was charged $ 474 US for one night.

“It’s crazy,” Walker said. “I mean why would y’all go up on the hotels in the middle of a crisis?”

Widespread power loss

More than 200,000 additional customers were in the dark in four Appalachian states, and nearly that many in the Pacific Northwest, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility outage reports.

Oklahoma’s largest electric utility reported no outages Wednesday, a day after rolling blackouts in and around Oklahoma City stopped electric-powered space heaters, furnaces and lights in –8 C weather. But Oklahoma Gas & Electric warned customers of the potential for more short-term service interruptions due to the extreme cold and high demand for natural gas.


People wait in line to fill propane tanks Wednesday in Houston. Customers had to wait over an hour in the freezing rain to fill their tanks. Millions in Texas still had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state’s power grid and causing widespread blackouts. (David J. Phillip/The Associated Press)

Nebraska also avoided another round of rolling power outages as subzero temperatures started to ease.

Entergy imposed rolling blackouts Tuesday night in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Southeast Texas at the direction of its grid manager, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, according to a statement from the New Orleans-based utility.

The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities covering 14 states, said the blackouts were “a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole.”

The weather also caused major disruptions to water systems in several southern U.S. cities, including in Shreveport, Louisiana, where city fire trucks delivered water to several hospitals, and bottled water was being brought in for patients and staff, Shreveport television station KSLA reported.

Carbon monoxide poisoning incidents

In Austin, Houston and other cities, residents were asked to stop letting water drip from pipes, a practice to prevent freezing, because of a major drop in water pressure. Houston residents also were told to boil their water — if they had power — because the pressure drop was allowing bacteria to seep into the pipes.

In the southwest Louisiana city of Lake Charles, Mayor Nic Hunter said Wednesday that water reserves remained low even after power was restored, and that local hospitals were faced with the possibility they might have to transfer patients to other areas because of low water pressure.


Ehsan M. rides a snowboard behind a friend’s SUV in a parking lot in Texas after a heavy snow on Monday. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/The Associated Press)

Travel remains ill-advised in much of the United States, with roadways treacherous and thousands of flights cancelled. Many school systems delayed or cancelled face-to-face classes.

But even staying home can be hazardous in places without power.

Authorities said a fire that killed three young children and their grandmother in the Houston area likely was caused by the fireplace they were using to keep warm. In Oregon, authorities confirmed Tuesday that four people died in the Portland area of carbon monoxide poisoning.

At least 13 children were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and one parent died of the toxic fumes, hospital officials said.

Fears of more snow

Stories of kindness emerged from the crisis.

In Clinton, Mississippi, Army veteran Evelyn Fletcher has been cooking and delivering meals to sidelined truck drivers, travelers and people staying at hotels after losing power at home.

“They’re stranded, they’re isolated — people are in need of support right now,” Fletcher said.


Lia Ubidia, right, and her son, Andrew Velarde, carry groceries as they walk home through the snow Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Houston. (David J. Phillip/The Associated Press)

On Monday, Fletcher made 85 meals. On Tuesday, she made 30 plates, while a local restaurant, T’Beaux’s Crawfish and Catering, cooked 75 plates of shrimp and gumbo that she and other volunteers delivered. And on Wednesday, Fletcher was cooking a pot of turkey noodle soup, hoping to deliver another 70 meals.

“People are worried about more snow,” she said. “We are going to keep people fed and keep them feeling hopeful.”

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American radio host Rush Limbaugh dead at 70

Provocative and polarizing U.S. talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, a leading voice on the American political right since the 1980s who boosted and was honoured by former U.S. president Donald Trump, has died, his family said Wednesday.

The veteran radio host died after suffering from lung cancer, his wife, Kathryn, announced on a radio show. His death was also later announced on his website.

Limbaugh first announced his diagnosis in February 2020, saying he would take time off for medical tests and to determine treatment after noticing shortness of breath during his birthday weekend in January. 

He said he intended to continue to work as much as possible, as well as focus on what he called his “deeply personal relationship” with God.

A day after he announced his diagnosis, Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom in an unprecedented move during the State of the Union address.

WATCH | Trump surprises Rush Limbaugh with honour:

U.S. President Donald Trump awards Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the state of the union address. 2:10

Limbaugh had not been publicly announced as a White House guest until the night before. When the honour was announced, he appeared genuinely surprised, giving a nearly tearful reaction. 

Unflinchingly conservative, wildly partisan, bombastically self-promoting and larger than life, Limbaugh galvanized listeners for more than 30 years with his talent for vituperation and sarcasm.

Shaping political conversations

He called himself an entertainer, but his rants during his three-hour weekday radio show, broadcast on nearly 600 U.S. stations, shaped the national political conversation — swaying ordinary Republicans and the direction of their party.

Blessed with a made-for-broadcasting voice, he delivered his opinions with such certainty that his followers, or “Ditto-heads,” as he dubbed them, took his words as sacred truth.

“In my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement,” Limbaugh, with typical immodesty, told author Zev Chafets in the 2010 book Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One.


U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to Limbaugh at a Make America Great Again rally on Nov. 5, 2018. (Jim Watson/Getty Images)

Limbaugh took as a badge of honour the title “most dangerous man in America.”

He said he was the “truth detector,” the “doctor of democracy,” a “lover of mankind,” a “harmless, lovable little fuzz ball” and an “all-around good guy.” He claimed he had “talent on loan from God.”

His idol, former president Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter of praise that Limbaugh proudly read on the air in 1992: “You’ve become the number one voice for conservatism.” In 1994, Limbaugh was so widely credited with the first Republican takeover of Congress in 40 years that the party made him an honorary member of the new class.

Following his death, former president George W. Bush said he “spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans.” Trump — whom Limbaugh supported from early on in his race for the presidency — called into Fox News Channel to describe the late radio host as “a legend” with impeccable political instincts. 

Long before Trump’s rise in politics, Limbaugh was pinning insulting names on his enemies and raging against the mainstream media, accusing it of feeding the public lies.

He called Democrats and others on the left communists, wackos, liberal extremists, radicals and “femi-nazis,” a term he coined.

Forbes magazine estimated his 2018 income at $ 84 million US, ranking him behind only Howard Stern among radio personalities.

A career of controversies

He began broadcasting nationally in 1988 from WABC in New York, before moving his show to Palm Beach, Fla.

He had a late-night TV show in the 1990s that got decent ratings but lacklustre advertising because of his divisive message. When he guest-hosted The Pat Sajak Show in 1990, audience members called him a Nazi and repeatedly shouted at him.

He was frequently accused of bigotry and blatant racism for such antics as playing the song Barack the Magic Negro on his show. The lyrics, set to the tune of Puff, the Magic Dragon, described then-presidential candidate Barack Obama as someone who “makes guilty whites feel good” and is “Black, but not authentically.” 

He was fired from a short-lived job as an NFL commentator on ESPN in 2003 after he said the media had made a star out of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb because it was “very desirous that a Black quarterback do well.” His racial remarks also derailed a 2009 bid to become one of the owners of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.


A fan holds a sign in support of Limbaugh after he was dropped from his bid to buy the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, on Oct. 18, 2009, in Minneapolis. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Also in 2003, Limbaugh admitted he was addicted to painkillers and went into rehab. He was arrested on prescription drug charges in 2006 but eventually reached a deal with prosecutors. They agreed to drop the case if he continued with treatment and paid $ 30,000 toward the cost of the investigation. 

He lost his hearing around the same time, which he said was due to an autoimmune disease, though his critics argued it could have been a side effect of opioid use. Limbaugh was fitted with cochlear implants soon after, which restored his hearing and saved his career.

In 2008, he signed an eight-year contract renewal for The Rush Limbaugh Show, a deal valued at roughly $ 400 million. The show was renewed again in 2016 for four more years, cementing his place in American conservative radio. 

“Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and just think to yourself, ‘I am just full of hot gas?'” David Letterman asked him in 1993 on The Late Show.

“I am a servant of humanity,” Limbaugh replied. “I am in the relentless pursuit of the truth. I actually sit back and think that I’m just so fortunate to have this opportunity to tell people what’s really going on.”

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As many as 150 feared dead in India’s north after glacier breaks

As many as 150 people were feared dead in northern India after a Himalayan glacier broke and crashed into a dam early on Sunday, with floods forcing the evacuation of villages downstream.

“The actual number has not been confirmed yet,” but 100 to 150 people were feared dead, said Om Prakash, chief secretary of Uttarakhand state where the incident occurred.

A witness reported a wall of dust, rock and water as an avalanche roared down a river valley.

“It came very fast; there was no time to alert anyone,” Sanjay Singh Rana, who lives on the upper reaches of Raini village, told Reuters by phone. “I felt that even we would be swept away.”

Locals fear that people working at a nearby hydro-power project had been swept away, as well as villagers roaming near the river looking for firewood or grazing their cattle, Rana said. “We have no idea how many people are missing.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was closely monitoring the situation.

“India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there,” he said on Twitter after speaking with the state chief minister.

Air force joining rescue effort

India’s air force was being readied to help with rescue operations, the federal government said, while Home Minister Amit Shah said disaster-response teams were being airlifted in to help with relief and rescue.

“All the concerned officers are working on a war footing,” Shah said on Twitter, referring to Uttarakhand by its nickname, the Hindi term for “land of the gods” — due to the numerous Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres located across the state.

The neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous, also put its riverside areas on high alert.

Footage shared by locals showed the water washing away parts of the dam as well as whatever else was in its path.

Videos on social media, which Reuters could not immediately verify, showed water surging through a small dam site, washing away construction equipment.

“The flow of the Alaknanda River beyond Nandprayag (stretch) has become normal,” Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on Twitter.

“The water level of the river is now one metre above normal but the flow is decreasing.”

Criticism of dam’s construction

Uttarakhand in the Himalayas is prone to flash floods and landslides. In June 2013, record rainfall caused devastating floods that claimed close to 6,000 lives.

That disaster was dubbed the “Himalayan tsunami” by the media due to the torrents of water unleashed in the mountainous area, which sent mud and rocks crashing down, burying homes, sweeping away buildings, roads and bridges.

Uma Bharti, India’s former water resources minister and a senior leader of Modi’s party, criticized the construction of a power project in the area.

“When I was a minister I had requested that Himalaya is a very sensitive place, so power projects should not be built on Ganga and its main tributaries,” she said on Twitter, referring to the main river that flows from the mountain.

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Former Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong dead at 90

George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the 1960s and wore the blue and white his entire career, has died.

He was 90.

The Maple Leafs confirmed the death Sunday on Twitter.

Armstrong played a record 1,187 games with 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons for the Leafs, including 13 seasons as team captain. The right-winger added another 26 goals and 34 assists in 110 playoff games.


Known as the Chief, Armstrong was one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975. Some 41 years later, Armstrong was voted No. 12 on the franchise’s list of 100 greatest Maple Leafs in its centennial season.

“George is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization and will be deeply missed,” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement.

“A proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn’t even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row.”

A young Armstrong met Syl Apps when the Maple Leafs star came to his bantam team’s annual banquet. Armstrong would go on to wear No. 10, the first Leaf to do so after the retirement of talismanic Cup-winning captain Apps.

Armstrong would also become one of a select number of Leafs honoured with a banner at Scotiabank Arena, and his number was officially retired in October 2016 at the team’s centennial anniversary home opener.

In 2015, Armstrong and Apps were added to the Leafs’ Legends Row.

Armstrong’s speech released in statement

The Leafs released a statement on Sunday with the words from Armstrong’s unread speech that night.

“Hockey is a great game and I love it. I am part of a fading generation that you will never have again. Every one of us is one of a kind, that will never be repeated. To all of my friends and acquaintances, thank you for your advice and direction, that helped make me who I am today … a very, very happy person.”

After hanging up his skates in 1971, Armstrong coached the Toronto Marlboros to Memorial Cup victories in 1972-73 and 1974-75 before accepting a scouting position with the Quebec Nordiques in 1978.

He spent nine years with Quebec before returning to the Toronto fold as assistant general manager and scout in 1988. Armstrong served as interim coach for the final 47 games of the 1988-89 season after John Brophy was fired following an 11-20-2 start.

The next year, Armstrong returned to his role as a scout for the Leafs.

He scored 20 goals four times during his career but was better known for his leadership and work ethic, helping restore the franchise’s winning touch. A smart player and talented backchecker, he worked the angles to get the best shot at his opponent and formed a formidable penalty-killing tandem with Dave Keon.

Humble approach

A humble man, Armstrong was quick to deflect praise. He credited his players for his Memorial Cup wins as coach.

“It wasn’t because I was a great coach, it was because I had some great players,” he said in a 1989 interview, listing off the likes of the Howe brothers, John Tonelli, Mark Napier and Mike Palmateer.

And he offered a typical response when inducted into the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

“I don’t know whether I deserve it or not, but I sure am happy to get it,” said Armstrong, who lived in several areas of the city before making Leaside his Toronto home.

Born in Bowland’s Bay, Ont., to an Irish father and an Iroquois mother, a young Armstrong honed his hockey skills in Falconbridge near the Sudbury nickel mines, where his father worked.

The Boston Bruins were interested, but Armstrong waited until the Leafs put him on their protected list while he was playing with the Copper Cliff Jr. Redmen of the NOHA in 1946-47. After winning the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the OHA’s leading scorer with Stratford next season, the Leafs sent him to their main junior affiliate, the Toronto Marlboros.


George Armstrong drops the ceremonial opening faceoff to Jason Smith (21) of the Edmonton Oilers and Mats Sundin (13) of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 17, 2007 in Toronto. (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

He was elevated to the senior Marlies for the 1949 Allan Cup playoffs and helped the team win the title over Calgary the next year.

It was during the Allan Cup tournament, specifically a visit to the Stoney Indian Reserve in Alberta, that he got his nickname. When the band heard of Armstrong’s ancestral background, they made him an honorary member with the name “Chief Shoot-the-Puck” and presented him with a ceremonial headdress.

It was a different era and “The Chief” nickname stuck. Armstrong, who was proud of his mother’s heritage, would become the first player of Indigenous descent to score in the NHL.

He spent most of two seasons in Pittsburgh with the Leafs’ American Hockey League farm team before making the big league. He made his NHL debut in December 1949 and became a full-time member of the Leafs in time for the start of the 1952-53 season.

Sign of things to come

“It looks as if he’s going to be here for quite a long time the way he handled that puck,” legendary broadcaster Foster Hewitt said after Armstrong scored his first NHL goal in a 3-2 win over Montreal.

Taking a pass from future Hall of Famer Max Bentley, Armstrong beat defenceman Butch Bouchard and beat goaltender Gerry McNeil.

“I did a little war dance that night, and I think everybody in Maple Leaf Gardens was pretty happy about it as well,” Armstrong recalled 15 years later.

Toronto owner and GM Conn Smythe named Armstrong his captain before the 1957-58 season. Smythe would later call Armstrong “the best captain, as a captain, the Leafs have ever had.”

The Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1962, the first of three straight championships.

Armstrong was 36 when the veteran Leafs won the franchise’s last championship in 1967. His insurance empty-net goal with 47 seconds remaining in the clinching 3-1 Game 6 win proved to be the final goal of the Original Six era.

The six-foot-one, 204-pounder played a few more seasons but suffered a knee injury during the 1969-70 campaign that forced him to retire. Armstrong was convinced to come back for the 1970-71 season before quitting for good at age 40.

At the time, Armstrong had played more seasons and more games as a Maple Leaf than any other player, and was second in career points.

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One-time home run king Hank Aaron dead at 86

Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday. He was 86.

The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given.

Aaron made his last public appearance less than two weeks ago when he received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Hammerin’ Hank” set a wide array of career hitting records during a 23-year career spent mostly with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, including RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases.

But the Hall of Famer will be remembered for one swing above all others, the one that made him baseball’s home-run king.

It was a title he would hold for more than 33 years, a period in which the Hammer slowly but surely claimed his rightful place as one of America’s most iconic sporting figures, a true national treasure worthy of mention in the same breath with Ruth or Ali or Jordan.

“Hammerin’ Hank” set multiple hitting records during a 23-year career spent mostly with the Braves, including RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases. But the Hall of Famer will be remembered for one swing above all others.

On April 8, 1974, before a sellout crowd at Atlanta Stadium and a national television audience, Aaron broke Ruth’s home run record with No. 715 off Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Aaron finished his career with 755. Barry Bonds surpassed that in 2007 —though many continued to call the Hammer the true home run king because of allegations that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.

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