Bob Hunter, who co-founded Greenpeace and was also a broadcaster, journalist, prolific author and political hopeful, died Monday after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, CHUM Television announced.
He was 63.
In his most recent public role, the Manitoba-born Hunter was the ecology news specialist for CHUM's Citytv and CP24 TV channels.
Greenpeace co-founder and Canadian journalist Bob Hunter (L) is seen en-route to Amchitka Island, in Alaska in this undated photograph. Hunter, who co-founded the environmental group Greenpeace to protest U.S. Nuclear testing and helped it grow into an international crusade, died on Monday at age 63 after a long fight of prostate cancer. Greenpeace 30th Anniversary Images photo
He was perhaps best known to Toronto viewers for Paper Cuts, a morning TV segment in which he wore a bathrobe and commented on stories in the day's newspapers.
"This was a man with a great loving heart, a brilliant mind and a massive spirit," said Stephen Hurlbut, vice-president of news programming for Citytv. "It is a sadder world today, but a better world because of him."
Hunter died surrounded by Bobbi, his wife of 31 years, and his children Will, Emily, Conan and Justine. Funeral arrangements were yet to be decided.
"Bob was an inspirational storyteller, an audacious fighter and an unpretentious mystic," said John Doherty, chair of Greenpeace Canada in a statement. "He was serious about saving the world while always maintaining a sense of humor."
Hunter first came to prominence in Vancouver in 1971 when he was invited to join a group taking a charter vessel to Alaska to protest nuclear testing the U.S. began on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians in 1965.
"I thought I was going to be a reporter, taking notes," the one-time Vancouver Sun reporter remarked at the time.
"In reality, I wound up on first watch."
He stayed for the 45-day duration of the voyage and subsequently helped shape the beginning of the Greenpeace Foundation in '72. With the launch of the pro-environment activist group, he helped bring public attention not only to nuclear testing but to the excesses of whaling and seal hunting as well as the dumping of toxic waste into the oceans.
Today, the organization has more than 2.5 million members with a presence in 40 countries. It was Hunter who adopted the term Rainbow Warriors to describe Greenpeace activists as well as the phrase Media Mind Bomb to describe the activist impact on the public consciousness. He left Greenpeace's employ in '81 and turned to writing and broadcasting to transmit his `green' message.
The shaggy-haired, grey-bearded Hunter was once named one of Time magazine's top eco-heroes of the 20th century.
In 2001, he ran unsuccessfully for the Liberal party for a by-election seat in the Ontario legislature and accused the NDP of employing slanderous techniques against him in the campaign.
When first diagnosed with cancer in 1999, Hunter began years of treatment at a Mexican cancer clinic that specialized in non-conventional medical treatments. He said no to surgery.
CP24 anchor David Onley announced Hunter's death Monday "with profound sadness," his voice breaking with emotion.
© The Associated Press