Canada 'Profound sadness' as Quebec singer-songwriter Karim Ouellet dies
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Singer-songwriter Karim Ouellet was found dead in his Quebec City apartment Monday evening. He was 37.
The Quebec City coroner’s office is conducting an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the death, the results of which will be made public upon its completion in the coming months.
Quebec City police received a call around 9:50 p.m. Monday to a rental unit in the central borough of Limoilou. Ouellet’s body was discovered on the premises, according to police spokesperson David Pelletier. Investigators from the SPVQ’s major crimes unit and police records unit will assist the coroner in its investigation.
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Born in Dakar, Senegal, and adopted by Canadian diplomats, Ouellet lived with his family in France, Rwanda and Tunisia before they settled in Quebec City when he was 15. His debut album, Plume, was released in 2011.
He won a 2014 Juno Award for Francophone Album of the Year for his second release, Fox, which also received several ADISQ Award nominations. His third album, Trente, followed in 2016.
Ouellet’s ebullient, melodic sound combined elements of folk, pop, reggae, hip-hop, funk and soul.
His sister,from her and her parents on Facebook, accompanied by photos of her sibling.
“It’s with profound sadness that we, the family, announce the death of our dear Karim; a son, a brother, a friend and an exceptional musician,” she wrote.
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“Karim left his mark on our hearts forever, and we will continue to celebrate his life, his talent and his heritage.
“We ask the media and journalists to respect the privacy of the family and of Karim at this difficult time.
“And thank you for this torrent of love for Karim, to those who have been touched by his words and his melodies, keep playing his music.”
News of Ouellet’s death sent shockwaves around the province, and even as far as Ottawa.
“,” tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “He made his mark on Quebec’s culture, and he leaves behind an impressive legacy — his music will continue to entertain, inspire, and transport us for years and years.”
“My condolences to the family and loved ones of Karim Ouellet, a young artist who brought a new style to Quebec music,” Legault tweeted.
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Quebec Mayor Bruno Marchand said in a statement he was overwhelmed by “an immense sadness,” Tuesday morning. “An extraordinary man, a singer-songwriter who was able to give a renewed sense of style to francophone music has left us. His gentleness and his words will live on through his music, which will remain engraved in Quebec’s musical landscape forever.”
Montreal International Jazz Festival vice-president Laurent Saulnier, who had programmed Ouellet often at both the jazz fest and Les Francos de Montréal,.
“My little Karim,” he wrote. “I’m going to miss you so much. Be safe.”
“Karim Ouellet was a breath of fresh air for the Quebec music scene of the early 2010s,” said. “We had just come out of a decade of staunch indie-rock. We felt a renewal in folk music. We saw rap continue its ascent. And from nowhere came Karim with his smile, his unabashed pop melodies and his singular, soft, velvet voice.
“Karim had the vision and sensitivity of the greats. His talent and openness to the world gave him wings.”
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