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Drew Burns, former owner of Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom, dies

09/29/2014 08:55 EDT | Updated 11/29/2014 05:59 EST
Legendary Vancouver showman Drew Burns, who brought international acts including U2, Coldplay and The Police to the Commodore Ballroom, has died.

Burns, who passed away Saturday, was the owner of the Granville Street nightclub from 1969 until 1996.

Author Aaron Chapman, who is writing a book about the history of the Commodore Ballroom said in a Facebook post that Burns was an original.

"Burns did more than any single club owner in the history of Vancouver to alter the landscape of the music and nightclub scene. He played a tremendous role in the culture of Vancouver itself and looked like he had a lot of fun doing it."

Chapman said Burns had a "hell of a life, and one well lived."

Burns ran the Commodore for 28 years and brought in many bands to Vancouver for the first time including the Clash and U2.

Current general manager Gordon Knights said Monday that Burns was charming and sharp.

"I knew that he wasn't well, but he's quite a private man and didn't let on about his health," said Knights. Burns's age and the cause of his death has not yet been released.

"The business just wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Drew and his leadership and his showmanship and his ability to make deals and connect players at the right time."

Knights said Burns had his ear to the ground when it came to musical acts and was willing to take risks that other promoters would not.

Burns made an impact outside of the music industry, as well. Knights said Burns was a great mentor and believer in giving back to the community, helping various charities through the years.

"It's hard to imagine him not around."

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