Richard Laviolette was a highly regarded Canadian singer-songwriter with a long and influential career in the music industry. He contributed to various bands and accumulated notable credits, including Mary Carl, Aging Recycling Plant, All of Your Raw Materials, Taking the Long Way Home, and Soundtrack to the Life of a Car Nearly Driving into the Pacific.
Over the course of his career, Laviolette collaborated with numerous artists and embarked on a seven-week tour of the US and Canada alongside label-mate Kit Wilson-Yang. Regrettably, a recent obituary for Richard Laviolette revealed that he passed away on September 5, 2023, at the age of 41. Richard Laviolette was a driven individual who excelled academically during his formative years. He had the honor of delivering the valedictorian speech at Chesley District High School and completed his remaining high school credits at Owen Sound Vocational Collegiate Institute.
His commitment to education extended to his pursuit of a history degree at the University of Guelph, where he aspired to become a public school teacher. His untimely demise prompted an outpouring of tributes and condolences from fans and fellow musicians who remembered him for his exceptional voice and songwriting talent. Mudtown Records, in particular, paid tribute to his exuberant and joyful performances. Laviolette’s family is currently mourning his loss, and plans for a public memorial service in Guelph later this year have been made. The cause of Richard Laviolette’s death was Huntington’s disease, and he opted for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) as his condition rapidly deteriorated since May 2023.
Huntington’s disease is a hereditary disorder that gradually leads to the degeneration and death of nerve cells in the brain. This debilitating illness posed severe challenges for Richard, affecting his ability to sing and play the guitar. Laviolette had faced health challenges from a young age, including Ulcerative Colitis, which necessitated a life-saving total colectomy at the age of 17.
The medications associated with this surgery resulted in severe bone damage, culminating in a hip replacement surgery at the age of 28. Despite these health struggles, Laviolette remained dedicated to his passion for music, finding solace and therapy in his art. His legacy will be remembered, and a tree will be planted in his honor in the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest. Tragically, Richard’s life was profoundly affected by Huntington’s Disease, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that exacts a heavy toll on both physical and mental health. His courageous battle against this relentless disease played a significant role in his untimely passing.