The community is remembering the life of a longtime resident, community leader, and media partner after passing away.
Tim O’Rourke died on Friday morning after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Longtime friend Dan Sorensen tells Mix News he will always remember his smile and how it affected other people.
“He was a person you walked away from and felt good about yourself and felt better knowing that individual, so I think it’s somebody who will be in our thoughts for a long, long time.”
O’Rourke was diagnosed with cancer back in the summer of 2014.
After surgery and six months of chemotherapy, he was declared cancer-free. However, the disease returned one week before the wildfire – moving into his liver.
Since June 2016 O’Rourke had been undergoing more chemo treatment.
“You’re not thinking about it happening and you just go day to day and he’ll be there tomorrow to talk to, so it’s kind of hard to accept the fact someone close to you is gone,” added Sorensen.
During his time in Fort McMurray, O’Rourke made a name for himself as the Fort McMurray Today’s publisher – working with the paper from 1992- 2009. His 17 years made him the longest working publisher in their history.
The Fort McMurray Today’s Managing Editor Olivia Condon says she personally didn’t know O’Rourke, however, she’s still ‘heartbroken’ over the news.
“I know what an enormous impact he had on the newspaper and on the media industry as a whole in Fort McMurray and it’s terrible to hear of his passing and it will be a great loss felt throughout the community and at the Today.”
Though he didn’t work directly with O’Rourke, Russell Thomas grew to know him during his own time working in the local media.
“He had his fingers on the pulse of this community and continued until the day he passed away – he is in my mind one of a small number of media legends who helped form this community and its story.”
A celebration of life is expected to be scheduled in the coming days.