"His unwavering passion for supporting an promoting Canadian and Indigenous artists, and his contributions to the music community have inspired so many," Toronto's Massey Hall wrote in a statement. "We will miss him with all of our hearts."
Known to many as "Captain Canada," Cameron started in music playing drums in a band named Harvest alongside school friend Tom Cochrane. In his teens, Cameron landed a warehouse job at EMI Music Canada before taking a number of other industry jobs.
Cameron returned to EMI in 1977 as manager, talent acquisition, going on to become director and then vice-president. He became president in 1988, making him the youngest Canadian president of a major record label.
Artists signed by Cameron while heading up EMI include Cochrane, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Stompin' Tom Connors, Helix, the Tea Party, Moist, Susan Aglukark, Glass Tiger, Nickelback, Serena Ryder, K-os and more. He served as president and CEO of the label until 2012, when it was acquired by Universal Music.
In 2010, Cameron was made a Member of the Order of Canada, awarded to him for being "a persistent and passionate executive in the recording industry," in addition to "an outspoken advocate for First Nations artists and their music."
Cameron also served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) for 14 years and worked to develop Canadian music charity MusiCounts. Cameron was named president and CEO of the Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall in 2015.
Find tributes to Cameron from friends and colleagues below.
Sad to learn of the passage of Deane Cameron into the next. He touched so many lives in Canadian music. He's the classic record exec; a musical patriot; a lover of artists and was an early champion of Polaris. He'll be dearly and massively missed. pic.twitter.com/npp6poNyMB— Polaris Music Prize (@PolarisPrize) May 16, 2019
Feeling very sad this evening hearing of Deane Cameron's passing. He supported my career and saw potential before even I did. I was and will always be proud that he thought I was a good songwriter. My thoughts are with his family and all the great people at @masseyhall tonight.— Donovan Woods (@DonovanWoods) May 16, 2019
RIP Deane Cameron. CEO of Massey Hall, former prez of EMI Canada, hugely important in the evolution of Canadian music. Kept a taxidermied beaver on his desk. Coaxed Stompin' Tom out of retirement/obscurity. Only Cdn label who wanted to sign the Hip. Much, much more.— Michael Barclay (@mmmbarclay) May 16, 2019
Deane Cameron. One of the good ones. Farewell. RIP.— Bernie Finkelstein (@BernieFinkelste) May 16, 2019
My heart is truly broken, I will never forget my friend, Deane Cameron we travelled such a long road together, he was my brother, I will not forget you my friend— Tom Cochrane (@TomCochraneMUS) May 17, 2019
So sad to hear about Deane Cameron .. He took Max Webster to England & was there when we recorded at Abbey Road for Top Of The Pops .. So many laughs together .. Always a huge interest in the Canadian music scene ! My deepest condolences to his wife and family.— Kim Mitchell (@TheKimMitchell) May 16, 2019
So sad to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of Deane Cameron, a tremendous and longtime supporter of Canadian musicians and a driving force behind the Massey Hall revitalization project. He will be missed. https://t.co/QKFgV6iTgv— Rush (@rushtheband) May 16, 2019
What happens to your body & soul when your friend calls you & sets a time to meet next week, only to find out today he's passed on without warning?— Andy Kim (@AndyKimMusic) May 17, 2019
I crumble to my knees, thankful for his friendship.
Deane Cameron was a pioneer soldier in the Canadian Music Scene.
Onto the light. pic.twitter.com/yiXYeYN2Z8
We mourn the loss of one of Canada's truly great music men, Deane Cameron. RIP Captain Canada. pic.twitter.com/qcTmP1OGPU— TRIUMPH (@TriumphTheBand) May 16, 2019
Sad to hear about the passing of Deane Cameron— Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) May 16, 2019
He was a true believer in the potential of Canadian Music and its artists.
Big shoes to fill RS
very deeply sorry to hear about @westendphoenix subscriber and friend of Rock Deane Cameron. always a very easy guy to talk to, and a great friend of stompin' tom (he signed him for his comeback). life is short. enjoy every walk. Deane was the kind of guy who did.— dave bidini (@hockeyesque) May 16, 2019
Very sad to hear of the passing of a great ambassador for Canadian music Mr Deane Cameron. I had a tremendous amount respect for the man in every aspect of who he was and his honest and integrity in all he did. My condolences to his family. #RIP— Gord Bamford (@gordbamford) May 16, 2019
So saddened to hear of the sudden passing of one of our Canadian industry's greatest record label leaders. Thank you Deane Cameron for everything you did for me, and so many others. You were truly an artist advocate , who really cared. #wewillmissyou— Terri Clark (@TerriClarkMusic) May 17, 2019
We are profoundly saddened to hear about the passing of our dear friend Deane Cameron. He was a champion of ours when we had few, made those around him feel like family and his belief and passion for Canadian music and Artists was second to none. Rest in power #CaptainCanada pic.twitter.com/BLWlIKk00l— Nickelback (@Nickelback) May 17, 2019
Very sad to hear of Deane Cameron's passing. He was a pillar of the Canadian music industry and a massive supporter of Canadian music. We in The Hip all looked up to him and we all thought he was a 1st class person. Deepest sympathies to his family + friends. A life well lived— paul langlois (@paullanglois101) May 17, 2019