Canadian Folk Icon Kate McGarrigle Dies at 63

Canadian Folk Icon Kate McGarrigle Dies at 63
Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle passed away yesterday (January 18) after battling liver cancer for three years.

The singer is perhaps best known for being one half of the Canadian folk duo the McGarrigle Sisters with her sister, Anna, but she was also the mother of singer-songwriters Rufus and Martha Wainwright.

"Sadly our sweet Kate had to leave us last night," a post reads on the McGarrigle Sisters website. "She departed in a haze of song and love surrounded by family and good friends. She is irreplaceable and we are broken-hearted. Til we meet again dear sister."

McGarrigle was born in 1946 in Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, QC. Her singing career started in Montreal coffeehouses in the 1960s, where she and Anna would perform songs with a band called the Mountain City Four. By the early 1970s, the duo were receiving widespread acclaim and were being covered by artists as popular as Linda Ronstadt, who titled one of her albums after the McGarrigle Sisters' "Heart Like A Wheel." Later songs of theirs were covered by artists such as Billy Bragg, Emmylou Harris and Nick Cave, to name a few.

The duo received widespread acclaim for their debut studio album in 1975, acclaim that would follow them through 1997 and 1999, when the McGarrigle Sisters won Junos for both their albums Matapedia and The McGarrigle Hour, respectively. Both Kate and Anna McGarrigle received the Order of Canada in 1993, and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2004.

According to reports, Kate McGarrigle passed away comfortably in the company of her sisters, Jane and Anna, and her children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright.