Oscar-winning Canadian documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky dies at 79

John Zaritsky, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, has died aged 79.

His family says the Canadian filmmaker died of heart failure on March 30 in Vancouver.

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Zaritsky has had a career spanning over 40 years and has often tackled controversial topics, including disease, drugs and assisted suicide, while giving voice to survivors.

He has produced titles as remarkable and impactful as those of 2016 Without limits: the saga of thalidomide2010s let them laugh and various critically acclaimed episodes of docuseries First lineincluding those of 1996 Murder on ‘Abortion Row.’

In 1983, Zaritsky won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for an episode of The fifth state title Just another missing childabout a missing Ottawa teenager.

He was also a two-time Gemini Award winner, for a 2005 episode University days, university evenings and 2008 The suicidal tourist.

Zaritsky is survived by his wife, Annie Clutton, his daughter-in-law Errin and his son-in-law Bern, and his grandchildren, Imogen and Reid.

“In his memory, he would like you to do two things,” Clutton wrote in a statement. “Take a friend out for a beer or two, watch a locally made documentary and allow your life to change a bit.”

WATCH | by John Zaritsky Just another missing child:

On July 10, 1978, 19-year-old Eric Wilson left his Ottawa home and drove alone in his van to Boulder, Colorado, where he was to attend a summer school. Four days later, he called from Nebraska and told his brother he had had trouble with the van, and promised to call the next day at five. That was the last time the Wilsons heard of him. Just Another Missing Kid chronicles the Wilsons’ search for answers and how a private detective they hired pieced together the details of Eric’s disappearance, leading to the arrest and conviction of two men for his murder. Just Another Kid won numerous awards, including the Oscar for best documentary film in 1983. Hosted by Ian Parker and produced by renowned documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky. 1:26:59