10/01/2015 07:19 EDT | Updated 10/02/2015 04:59 EDT

Max Keeping, Ottawa Philanthropist And Former Anchor, Dies Of Cancer

Max Keeping, an Ottawa broadcasting legend and one of Canada's longest-serving TV anchors, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Keeping, 73, anchored CTV (CJOH) Ottawa's suppertime newscast for 37 years. He retired in 2010, but continued his tireless support of local charities.

"Max’s support for children and youth has been legendary and substantial; some say to the tune of $140 million dollars," said former city councillor Alex Munter, who is the president and CEO of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. "But where Max was truly gifted was in his ability to bring people and organizations together to create long lasting and direct impacts in the lives of kids."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson stated on Thursday, "Ottawa lost an important part of its family today. Goodbye Max."

Born in Grand Bank, NL, Keeping began his journalism career as a 16 year old at the St. John's Evening Telegram, deftly punching out stories with his characteristic one-finger typing.

After stints in radio in the Maritimes, Keeping moved to Ottawa, and landed a job as CTV's parliamentary reporter.

After a failed run as a Conservative candidate in Newfoundland (he lost by a landslide to incumbent Liberal Don Jamieson), Keeping returned to the nation's capital and started his almost four-decade run at CJOH's anchor desk.

Lauded as a true newsman who could connect with everyone from politicians on Parliament Hill to celebrities that included John Lennon to the mom in her Pembroke living room, Keeping led the station to dominating the local news market in Eastern Ontario.

He mentored countless journalists including ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, former NBC reporter Arthur Kent, and TSN sports anchor James Duthie.

Cancer surgery in 2012

Keeping went through surgery for colorectal cancer in 2012 when doctors removed four of his organs, according to CTV. Two years later, he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, reported The Ottawa Citizen.

In an interview with CBC News, he said: "Don't get hung up, don't give up. Never give in to a bully. Never give in to this rotten son of a bitch of cancer."

He also used the opportunity to remind people about early detection and regular testing for all types of cancer.

Keeping didn't let illness hinder his fundraising efforts or public appearances for various groups, including The Max Keeping Foundation which he created to help disadvantaged kids.

His efforts for CHEO led to a new wing named after him in 2013.

Among his many accolades, Keeping was named to the Order of Canada, and also awarded a Gemini Humanitarian Award.

Keeping left palliative care to pass away surrounded by his family.

"Today Ottawa is a better place for having had Keeping in it, but sadder city with his passing," wrote Susan Sherring in The Ottawa Sun.

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