The founder of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Bill Marshall, has died at age 77.  According to a statement issued on Monday, Marshall died after suffering cardiac arrest.

Describing Marshall as pioneer in the Canadian film industry, the statement, which was released through TIFF’s press office, disclosed that he died in a Toronto hospital on New Year’s day.

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“In a very real way, Bill was in the business of making dreams become reality,” read the statement. “Now, as the house lights dim, friends and family will remember and honour Bill as a first rate raconteur, famous for his honesty, keen mind and wry humour.”

Marshall immigrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland in 1955, founded the festival in 1976 along with co-founders Henk Van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl. He has 13 different feature film credits to his name and also produced hundreds of documentaries.