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Rita MacNeil Dies: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

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Beloved Canadian country and folk singer Rita MacNeil has died at the age of 68. Here are the top 10 things you should know about MacNeil.


1) Cause of Death

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According to a release on the singer’s website, MacNeil died April 16th from complications following stomach surgery.


2) From the East Coast


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She was born in Big Pond, N.S., on Cape Breton Island.


3) Large Family

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MacNeil was one of eight children born to Neil and Catherine MacNeil.


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4) Famously Shy

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MacNeil was famously shy, but overcame her shyness through the encouragement of her parents.

“You can be shy,” she said. “You can work through all kinds of struggle. But somewhere deep down, you have to have belief or nothing’s going to happen.”


5) Juno-Winning Singer

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MacNeil earned her first Juno award in 1987 at age 42 for most promising female artist, and went on to win two others.


6) Other Awards

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MacNeil recorded more than 24 albums, selling millions of copies worldwide. She won numerous East Coast Music Awards and Country Music Awards. She also won a Gemini for her CBC variety show ‘Rita & Friends’ which ran from 1994 to 1997.


7) Famous Condolences

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a dear sweet woman and a gifted singer-songwriter who represented women and her beloved Nova Scotia so eloquently in her songs,” fellow singer Anne Murray, who also hails from Nova Scotia, told the Globe and Mail.


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8) Rita’s Tea Room

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MacNeil she opened Rita’s Tea Room in her hometown of Big Pond in 1986. The establishment quickly became a popular spot for tourists.


9) She Has Two Children

MacNeil is survived by a son, Wade and a daughter, Laura, as well as grandchildren.


10) Quick Wit

MacNeil demonstrated a quick-witted sense of humour when she made a cameo appearance (harvesting marijuana plants, no less) on the Canadian television show The Trailer Park Boys.

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