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'Free Willy' Actor August Schellenberg Dies at 77

August Schellenberg - P 2013
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August Schellenberg

The Canadian actor was best known at home for film roles such as in "Black Robe," and for TV work in the CBC drama "North of 60."

TORONTO -- Free Willy actor August Schellenberg died Thursday at age 77 after a long battle with cancer.

Schellenberg, who was born in Montreal, was a Metis actor also known for roles in homegrown films like Black Robe and in the CBC drama North of 60. The Metis are recognized Aboriginal people in Canada.

In 1995, Schellenberg moved to Dallas, where he later died at home.

Among his last screen credits was the 2012 Canadian indie film The Last Movie.

Fellow Canadian actor Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas) on Friday paid tribute to Schellenberg on his Twitter account: "Mentor, brother and Leader. Travel well & RIP! Ah ho!"

Schellenberg is survived by his wife, Joan Karasevich, and three daughters.