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'It was a joy and tear-filled night'

Terminally ill New Westminster guitarist honoured at Vancouver tribute concert one day after his death

Longtime New Westminster musician Paul Leahy was remembered at an emotional tribute concert the day after his death at a Surrey hospice last week.

“Paul took his last gentle breath on Thursday (Jan. 26) as we held hands in the quiet of the night,” his wife Kimiko Karpoff told the Record. “He was surrounded in love.”

Last Friday nearly 300 people gathered at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver and paid tribute to the local indie musician’s life and the music he loved.

“It was a joy and tear-filled night,” Karpoff said.

Among the performers, which included Polly Suit, forged from members of Leahy’s bands Pleasure Suit and Polly, was Leahy’s 20-year-old son Finn, a vocal artist.

Leahy, a fixture on the Lower Mainland's music scene for 35 years, was diagnosed with inoperable oral cancer in October.

His musical career included time with the Toys and No Fun in the early years and then the Transvestimentals, Pleasure Suit, Hello Polly and, finally, Polly.

Along with the concert, which doubled as a tribute and fundraiser for Leahy’s family, friends and fellow musicians also launch a crowdfunding campaign three months ago, which has raised $10,770 (as of Friday)  – more than double its original goal.