Toronto comedian and actor Tony Rosato passed away Tuesday night from what appears to be a heart attack.


“It’s heartbreaking,” said Rosato’s longtime agent Larry Goldhar, who broke the news. “He is truly one of the gentlest people I have ever met. He was just such a kind person… I can tell you, every time I saw him he would tell me, ‘I love you.’ Like, every single time, that’s the kind of person he was.”

Rosato was best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, SCTV and his routine stage performances at Second City. He also appeared on Street Legal, had a recurring role on Night Heat, and starred on Diamonds. In his youth, he was slated to be the next Jim Belushi, but movie fame never came.

His career stalled in 2005 when he spent a considerable amount of time in the maximum-security Quinte Detention Centre in Napanee after suffering a serious mental illness. Rosato had Capgras syndrome, a rare mental disorder in which one believes his closest friends have been replaced with impostors. In 2005, he was convinced that his then-wife Leah and infant daughter had been switched out with substitutes, and called the police many times because of this, who eventually charged him with harassing his wife.

He was held in prison awaiting trial for two years. He was not charged with that crime, but was ordered to stay at a psychiatric facility until he was deemed fit to leave, and was out on probation in 2009.

After the diagnosis, he was equipped with antipsychotic medication and told of his “miracle” of freedom and the “privilege…to start over again.” Rosato made a brief comeback to television and performing.

It was his girlfriend Tanya Moore who discovered him dead on Tuesday. “Tony, my beautiful, loving and precious boyfriend passed away last night,” she said in a Facebook post. “I will love you forever and as you said so many times to me with all my heart.”

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