Pioneering Canadian animator Ryan Larkin dies

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TORONTO -- Ryan Larkin, the pioneering animator and subject of a 2004 Oscar-winning short film by fellow Canadian Chris Landreth, died Wednesday after a long illness.

Larkin, 63, died in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec after a bout with brain cancer, Laurie Gordon, Larkin's producer and manager said Friday.

"Ryan was an inspiration to everyone who knew him and to generations of creative spirits in Canada and around the world," Gordon said in a statement.

"He was charismatic even in the face of his illness. The end of Ryan's life was one of the most beautiful final chapters ever written - he died on Valentine's Day - a day of love no less. I will miss him enormously," she added.

Larkin first gained renown as a Canadian animator in the 1970s after training from age 19 with the National Film Board of Canada. He received an Oscar nomination for his most famous work, the psychedelic-themed "Walking."

But Larkin eventually fell on hard times. He became the subject of "Ryan," a film that portrayed the one-time famous Canadian animator living on welfare and begging for money on the streets of Montreal.

Besides earning Landreth an Oscar for best animated short in 2005, "Ryan" revived Larkin's passion for animation. He went on to complete new film titled "Spare Change," about his experience as a Montreal panhandler.

In December, Larkin created three short animated segments that aired on MTV in Canada.
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