Article From CHUM, April 08, 1998

Nick Auf der Maur Dies At 55

MONTREAL (CP) _ Nick Auf der Maur, a former city councillor and newspaper columnist who for many was the quintessential Montrealer, has died of cancer. He was 55.

Friends said Auf fer Maur died peacefully at home on Tuesday night surrounded by his family, including daughter Melissa, a bassist in the rock group Hole. Auf der Maur became Montreal's unofficial ambassador to the world, the man out-of-town reporters would call, meet up with in a downtown bar and interview.

``We'll miss him,'' said Alan Allnutt, editor in chief at the Montreal Gazette. ``He's one of the great characters in the city and one of the best storytellers I knew, as raconteur, sitting at a bar or at a typewriter.''

Auf der Maur began as a columnist with the Gazette 30 years ago, then had spells at the Montreal Star and Montreal News before returning to the Gazette. The leftist was arrested during the 1970 October Crisis and held for six days after the federal government invoked the War Measures Act.

Auf der Maur went on to be elected to city council, where he exposed some of the cost over-runs during the 1976 Olympics. ``I got up in council and I felt like Perry Mason,'' he recalled in an interview. ``I got up and said the chairman of the executive committee on such and such a date awarded these Olympic contracts and on such and such a date he got this land for a house.

``That was the third meeting I attended as a councillor.'' He wrote a book, The Billion Dollar Game, in which he slammed the mismanagement, scams and blundering that went on prior to the Olympics.

``I still have a hard time enjoying myself at an Expos game because I keep staring at the concrete and it just comes back to me,'' he said several years ago about the Olympic Stadium. Auf der Maur was in the news in November 1996 when he was ejected from an auditorium as he denounced a slide show surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain, whose widow, Courtney Love, fronts Hole.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.