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Kate McGarrigle dies at age 63

Very sad news: Kate McGarrigle has died, her manager confirms. The beloved Canadian folk singer was 63. The CBC reports that she passed away on Jan. 18 after fighting a rare cancer.

McGarrigle first found fame in the 1970s, performing songs in French and English with her older sister Anna, often billed as the McGarrigle Sisters. From the start, they reveled in creating the kind of perfectly matched vocal harmonies that only a pair of talented siblings can pull off. More voices joined the chorus when Kate McGarrigle’s children Rufus and Martha Wainwright (born during her marriage to singer Loudon Wainwright III) joined the family trade and began careers of their own in later years. Kate McGarrigle went on to perform frequently with her sister and kids, helping introduce a new generation of fans to her work. This writer was lucky enough to see them all on stage more than once, most recently at Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration last May. You can watch a clip of McGarrigle and Rufus performing “Over the Rainbow” last July after the jump.

“When inevitably I read today in the papers that my mother lost her battle with cancer last night, I am filled with an immense desire to add that this battle, though lost, was tremendously fruitful during these last three and a half years of her life,” Rufus Wainwright said in a statement posted online. “She witnessed her daughter’s marriage, the creation of my first opera, the birth of her first grandchild Arcangelo, and gave the greatest performance of her life to a packed crowd at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Not to mention traveling to some of the world’s most incredible places with both my sister, her husband Brad, my boyfriend Jorn and myself. Yes, it was all too brief, but as I was saying to her sister Anna last night while sitting by her body after the struggle had ceased, there is never enough time and she, my amazing mother with whom everyone fell in love, went out there and bloody did it. I will miss you mother, my sweet and valiant explorer, lebwohl and adio. X”

The Music Mix extends its condolences to Kate McGarrigle’s family, friends, and fans. Please share your memories of her in the comments section.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Photo credit: Leon/RD/Retna

Originally posted January 19 2010 — 12:48 PM EST

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