Legendary Vancouver disc jockey Red Robinson has died, his family announced Saturday.
“With deep sadness and broken hearts, we bring the news that our beloved dad, Red Robinson, passed this morning at 8:15 a.m. after a brief illness,” wrote Kellie and Sherrie Robinson in a message on Facebook.
Robinson first made a name for himself in the 1950s, playing rock ‘n’ roll music before it hit the mainstream.
In 1957, he emceed Elvis Presley’s only concert in Vancouver. Seven years later, he did the same when The Beatles came to town.
In 1995, Robinson was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Robinson was a fixture on Metro Vancouver airwaves for more than six decades, finally retiring in 2017 at age 80, after 63 years in broadcasting.
“Most people knew our dad as a rock ‘n’ roll DJ, a TV personality, an ad agency owner, a spokesperson, or through his philanthropic work,” he family wrote.
“He was larger-than-life in a lot of ways, but to us he was a devoted father and grandfather, a loving husband to our late mom Carole, and a loyal friend to everybody.”
In 2006, the casino in Coquitlam – then known as Boulevard Casino – named its 1,100-seat theatre the Red Robinson Show Theatre.
When the casino’s owners rebranded as the Hard Rock Casino a few years later, thousands of people signed a petition urging them to keep Robinson’s name on the venue. Local crooner Michael Bublé was among those outraged by the decision, telling CTV News at the time that he was “livid.”
“Red Robinson has meant a lot to me,” Bublé said at the time. “But the truth is it’s more than that. It’s not a personal thing in a way, it’s bigger than that. I’m a very proud Vancouverite, I love this city, and we’re talking about an icon.”
Speaking to CTV News on the day of his last broadcast, the icon himself was much less grandiose about his legacy.
“I’d just like to thank everybody for putting up with me for six decades,” he said at the time.
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