R.I.P. Toronto Broadcaster and G98.7 Founder Fitzroy Gordon
"It is with great sadness that I announce his passing on Tuesday April 30th, 2019," Gordon's wife, Marvette Gordon, wrote in a statement. "At this time, as you can imagine, we are overcome with grief and we would like to thank you for your support, understanding and prayers."
The statement continued, "I know Mr. G was well loved by our listeners and the community at large, as such, rest assured that at the appropriate time, there will be opportunity for you to express your love for him."
G98.7 morning host Jemeni wrote that Gordon "was and will continue to be a giant and a legend in his field" in a tribute on Instagram. "Anyone that knows him at all knows he had already given so much of his heart to the station, the city, the Caribbean, the church, his family, CRICKET 😊, black art and culture and music," she recalled, "He made sure people of colour would have a voice in this city."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote that Gordon "brought people together, gave them a voice, and worked to make Toronto an even better, more inclusive place — both on & off the air. He'll be deeply missed, but his legacy & contributions to Canada will live on."
Toronto Mayor John Tory called Gordon's passing "a loss for all of Toronto," recalling how he was "a caring citizen who constantly showed leadership in the Black community but also took a keen, active interest in the advancement of newcomers to Canada of the City of Toronto as a whole."
Born in Jamaica, Gordon's love of radio began at age nine after buying a pocket radio with money earned pulling weeds alongside his grandmother at Jamaica's Hope Botanical Gardens.
"I grew up with my grandmother — my parents had migrated overseas and left me in the Caribbean," Gordon recalled to Canadian Immigrant in 2012. "And my grandmother always told me, 'You never give up because you did not make it the first time. You just keep working hard until you are successful.' That drive is in me until this day. I don't give up at all."
After immigrating to Canada in his 20s, Gordon began working as a medical equipment technologist while writing for Canadian and Caribbean publications. He spent 19 years as producer/host of CHIN radio's Dr. Love Show in Toronto, a variety program that featured music, news and call-in segments on sports, relationships, current affairs and more.
Gordon also spent over 15 years as a sports journalist and broadcaster, working as a host on The Score and the FAN 590 and as a columnist for the Toronto Sun, the Gleaner and Star, and the Contrast. His coverage included turns at the Cricket World Cup, the summer Olympics and the Sahara Cup, a cricket series between Pakistan and India held in Canada from 1996 through 1998.
Seeking to to develop a radio station for Black and Caribbean communities, Gordon first applied for a broadcast licence from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in 2001 but was unsuccessful. A second attempt in 2009 saw him secure a partial license, leaving it up to him to find his own broadcast frequency for the station.
A channel adjacency issue with a CBC Radio signal forced Gordon to apply for a third time. G98.7 was officially licensed on June 9, 2011, and launched in November that same year. The station's first live broadcast opened with Jimmy Cliff's cover of "I Can See Clearly Now."
On G98.7, Gordon hosted the station's Gospel Morning program on weekends, along with the Grapevine Talk Show on Sunday afternoons.
Find tributes to Gordon from friends, colleagues and listeners below.
Statement from the Gordon Family: "Hello my name is Marvette Gordon. I am the wife of Fitzroy Gordon, founder and CEO of G987FM. It is with great sadness that I announce his passing on Tuesday April 30th, 2019. At this time, as you can imagine, we are overcome with grief and we would like to thank you for your support, understanding and prayers. I know Mr. G was well loved by our listeners and the community at large, as such, rest assured that at the appropriate time, there will be opportunity for you to express your love for him. We kindly ask, at this time for patience and understanding during our time of grief. Thank you and God bless. - Marvette Gordon"
I can only tell you right now that Im Forever grateful.Sleep well Mr. G... We'll take it from here✊🏿— Mark Strong (@strizzzy) April 30, 2019
With a heavy heart I announce the passing of Mr. Fitzroy Gordon,founder and CEO @G987FM 😢💔💔🙏🏿🤲🏿🙏🏿
He made sure people of colour had a voice in this city.#RIPFitzroyGordon pic.twitter.com/r2Mhj2Ad0O
I'm reading that Fitzroy Gordon of @G987FM passed away, and that's absolutely heartbreaking. Fitzroy is someone that made it his life's work to put a Black-focused radio station on Toronto airwaves, and overcame a ton of obstacles to do so.— Andray (@andraydomise) April 30, 2019
Rest in power, Mr. G
Wow. This is the end of an era. Sending love to his family and loved ones. Rest in Peace Mr. Fitzroy Gordon 🙏🏾 https://t.co/jZxcT4akYb— Amanda Parris (@amanda_parris) May 1, 2019
Rip Fitzroy Gordon. A Canadian trailblazer. pic.twitter.com/vXK0r1R6ox— Hmm, I would like to see it (@iamlynnmona) May 1, 2019
I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Fitzroy Gordon founder & CEO @G987FM. To say Mr. Gordon was a leader would be an understatement. He was a visionary. His contributions to our Black media, arts, culture and business communities will never be forgotten. #culture #onpoli pic.twitter.com/q3zLKEaVNa— Dr. Jill Andrew (@JILLSLASTWORD) May 1, 2019
Sad to hear of the passing of Fitzroy Gordon. I wrote my 4th university paper on our almost 30-year fight to get our own black-owned radio station in Canada. Condolences to his family, loved ones and the @G987FM crew. https://t.co/1f11ddjWUh— J-Sabz (@JonsabaWrites) April 30, 2019
Wow, RIP Fitzroy Gordon! Thank you for giving us @G987FM! I remember doing my university Co-Op there and you always popped in and spoke positivity to your staff. May your legacy live on. You gave Black people one of the greatest gifts in this city - a platform to be heard!— Danica Samuel (@DanicaSamuel) April 30, 2019
Sending our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Fitzroy Gordon and the entire @G987FM family. Rest In Peace.— MP Celina 🇨🇦 (@MPCelina) April 30, 2019
Fitzroy Gordon, founder of Toronto radio station G98.7, has died. In such a homogeneous radio landscape in this town, G98.7 truly stands out, and this city is richer for its presence. Much respect. https://t.co/v0aTMFZGyi— Michael Barclay (@mmmbarclay) May 1, 2019
My statement on the death of Fitzroy Gordon. pic.twitter.com/l5hqYXxdlm— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 30, 2019
Fitzroy Gordon brought people together, gave them a voice, and worked to make Toronto an even better, more inclusive place – both on & off the air. He'll be deeply missed, but his legacy & contributions to Canada will live on. https://t.co/sTHxwcbEnJ— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 1, 2019