The champion of independent music reportedly passed away at 12:45 a.m. this morning, after being hospitalized last month due to an aneurysm.
Prior to working as an on-air personality at Indie88, Bookman was a distinct voice on Toronto's 102.1 The Edge for two decades.
Bookman was the longtime host of the "Indie Hour" on The Edge and also hosted weekly live music showcase Nu Music Night at the Horseshoe Tavern.
"Bookie was the last true personality on air," his friend and colleague at both Indie88 and the Edge, Josie Dye, said in a statement. "He wasn't hired for his charm, his looks, or his voice. He didn't work his brand, or promote himself. He exuded knowledge, truth, opinions that mattered that had foundations in research and love for music. Bookie was never defined by a genre or a stereotype and cool was never in his vocabulary. He never lost vision of the music that unites us and even the word 'indie' was too pigeon-holed for what he brought to the music scene."
Jeff Cohen, the owner of the Horseshoe Tavern, has also shared his memories of Bookman in a post. He reflects on Bookman's time as the singer in the Bookman — a band that "wrote Dylanesque folk ditties a la Billy Bragg and name checked streets/eateries (even delicatessens) in Ottawa," who he encountered at Carleton University's campus radio station.
Cohen goes on to detail their time together at CIUT and all the connections Bookman made for him in the Toronto music industry, as well as his enduring commitment to bringing new bands to the Horseshoe Tavern.
Cohen added, "Our loss is beyond devastating, and words are tough to come by now," but managed to pen the following Frank Turner-inspired tribute tune to Bookman:
Well I was working on some words when Craig called me up
He said that Bookie had gone asleep and wasn't waking up
And even though I knew that there was nothing to be done
I felt bad for not being there and now, well, he was gone
So I tried to think what Dave would want me to do
At times like this when I was feeling blue (like play Racing In The Streets '78)
So I gathered up some friends to spread the sad sad news
And we headed to the H-Shoe for a drink or two
And we sang 'We live to dance another day,
It's just now we have to dance for one more of us'
So stop looking so damn depressed
And sing with all our hearts, 'Long live the King.'
A number of other media personalities and musicians have shared memories and messages of condolences for Bookie via social media. See some of those below.
This is such sad news. Bookie was a champion of live music, a wonderful broadcaster and a lovely guy. Gutted, https://t.co/IW9BDcgBKC— Matt Galloway (@mattgallowaycbc) May 21, 2019
heartbroken over this. bookie was one of a kind. an unmatched on-air talent who never let the machine break his unique, passionate personality. he was the first person who ever let me go on-air with him, ever. he changed my life and enriched the lives of so many. i will miss him. https://t.co/TLTJgrhip3— raina douris (@RahRahRaina) May 21, 2019
We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Dave Bookman @BookieAtNight. He was a massive supporter of ours from the first time we met in the very early 90s. Toronto has lost a music scene legend. #RIPBookie— Sloan (@Sloanmusic) May 21, 2019
Very sad to hear about Bookie's passing. He was a Toronto radio legend and always championed indie music before anyone else on the airwaves. Had the pleasure of interviewing him in depth a couple years ago and he didn't disappoint. https://t.co/OA6eTP4Uyv— cam lindsay (@yasdnilmac) May 21, 2019
There are people who were put on this earth to love music, to help artists, to share their experience and knowledge. Dave "Bookie" Bookman was one of them. The city of Toronto - and Canada's - music scene wouldn't be the same without him, and he will be missed. pic.twitter.com/javKFx7G88— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) May 21, 2019
We're sad to hear of the passing of Dave "Bookie" Bookman. He's forged many great relationships with staff and listeners. He will be greatly missed. Our heart goes out to his family. ❤— 102.1 the Edge (@the_edge) May 21, 2019
Devastating news. I discovered so much new music because of Bookie, and felt a deeper connection with the bands I already loved because of his passion on the dial. "Light one up for the good guys," he'd say before premiering a new Hip single. Feels appropriate now. https://t.co/7UYqkpN71C— Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) May 21, 2019
Bookie was the most unique character I have ever met. Impossible to properly describe, but passionate, down to earth, intelligent, and caring to his core is a start. Such a loss not only for the Indie88 family, but our entire industry, and the city of Toronto. https://t.co/OnyOoRdihD— Carlin (@CarlinBurton) May 21, 2019
Sad news this morning. Bookie was a joy to listen to on the radio. So much knowledge and passion. He was also an all-world guy, kind and considerate and fun to be around. @josiedye does an amazing job eulogizing Bookie here: https://t.co/1uu4klKaJ6— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 21, 2019
RIP Bookie. You were a huge help to us in our early days, as you were to many bands. A true legend in the industry. You will be missed. https://t.co/20wVgVckDz— The Trews (@thetrews) May 21, 2019
We're devastated to hear of the passing of a legend in the Toronto and Canadian music scene. Bookie was unmatched in his ability to share his passion for music and did so much to promote and celebrate new artists. RIP Bookie ❤️ https://t.co/F8QpPfWpFI— The RAA (@ruralalberta) May 21, 2019
RIP Bookie. You touched every music fan in Toronto with your dedication to independent and upstart artists. This city is going to miss you terribly. My condolences to Dave Bookman's family and many friends.— Stuart Henderson (@henderstu) May 21, 2019
Bookie was more than just a deejay—he was my lifeline to the Toronto scene at a time when I was was just figuring out that there was a whole other musical universe lurking beneath the surface of the world that I knew up to that point. RIP buddy. https://t.co/cieBym5yvb— Stuart Berman (@stuberman) May 21, 2019
Juat devastated to hear of the passing of Dave Bookie Bookman. A hero of the Toronto music scene and a wonderful guy. Travel well, friend.— Moe Berg (@moeTPOH) May 21, 2019
Music has lost a true champion with the passing of Dave Bookman— Lowest Of The Low (@LowestOfTheLow) May 21, 2019
We were always lucky to have him in our city.
Rest well, old friend.
"Bookies college of musical knowledge". Always a must listen. Rest in peace brother. https://t.co/25rUVFAWbM— Jay "Maddog" Michaels - Content Creator (@JayOnTheRushTO) May 21, 2019
Dear and lovely Bookie. Rest In Peace. 💗💕💕💕💕💕 https://t.co/5IS3zSs9za— Bif Naked (@bifnaked) May 21, 2019
Always enjoyed stopping by to talk to Bookie. Way too soon. Rest In Peace Bahd. https://t.co/k98UDh0K6P— Jeremy Taggart (@Taggart7) May 21, 2019