Ian Tyson, Canadian country music icon, passed away at 89 on Thursday (Dec. 29). Family members confirmed the news in an official press release and stated that the icon took his last breaths on his ranch in southern Alberta, Canada.
Tyson was an integral figure in the Canadian folk scene. He made his official debut to the world of country in 1956 at the Heidelberg Café in Vancouver in 1956 and would go to play with a rock and roll band called The Sensational Stripes.
The singer would then strike gold by 1959 after meeting Sylvia Fricker — the pair would perform as Ian & Sylvia, graduating from part-time performers to becoming a full fledged musical act in 1961 and marrying each other by 1964. The duo then began performing with the assistance of a band, founding and fronting the group The Great Speckled Bird in 1969.
Tyson would spawn a series of notable singles throughout his career, including “Four Strong Winds,” “The Old Double Diamond,” “Someday Soon” and “You Were on My Mind,” the latter of which he sang alongside Sylvia.
By 1989, Tyson was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, alongside Sylvia — whom he divorced from in 1975 — in 1992. Two years later in 1994, Tyson was granted the honor of becoming a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994; he also received Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2003 and 2006 respectively.