Paul Houde (1954-2024) | “He didn’t want to worry”

“No one expected this news. » At the age of 69, radio host and “living encyclopedia” Paul Houde died unexpectedly on Saturday from complications following brain surgery. A sudden departure, even for those close to him to whom he confided until recently that he had plans for the future.

For about a month and a half, Paul Houde had been waiting at the hospital to undergo an operation to remove a mass in his brain that had been discovered last fall, confides his long-time researcher and producer, Kathrine Huet, contacted Saturday evening .


Kathrine Huet and Paul Houde

He was there, under surveillance, due to balance problems linked to his condition, one symptom among others which had recently alerted his loved ones. The operation, which took place last week, however, went off without a hitch.

“It was an operation that lasted several hours and was ultimately a success. That’s why no one expected to hear this news, both me and his family. That’s why the shock is so great,” breathes Kathrine Huet.


The death of the host was announced by his family on Saturday afternoon.

“It is with a broken heart that I must announce the death of my beloved brother Paul. He left us unexpectedly, but very gently, this Saturday morning, March 2, around 5 a.m.,” revealed on social networks the television voice of the Montreal Canadiens matches and brother of the deceased, Pierre Houde.

“Unfortunately, his heart stopped suddenly following complications,” his son, Karl Houde, said on Facebook. “We immediately understand the deep affection that you all had for Paul and we are touched by it, believe us. But in the circumstances and given the sudden nature of his departure, we would appreciate it if you could respect the privacy of our family,” he added.

The upheaval is all the greater for those close to him as the morale of the tireless host seemed good after his operation, so much so that he was already talking about plans for the future, says Kathrine Huet.


Paul Houde, alias “Fern”, Boysin February 2004, during the McDonald’s Challenge at the Bell Center

“We thought all that was behind him. He said: “Christian Bégin got away with it [après avoir également subi une opération pour retirer une tumeur au cerveau], he had the same thing as me.” He had plans for VR shows, all kinds of projects. And finally, he who always warned of everything, he took me by surprise,” says Kathrine Huet.

Despite the void created by his absence from the public space for several weeks, Paul Houde did not wish to make an announcement to explain this rare interlude, adds the woman who worked alongside him for around twenty years.

“He didn’t want it to be known. He didn’t want to worry,” confides Kathrine Huet.

He wanted to wait until this whole episode was behind him to say: I experienced such and such a thing, don’t worry, everything is fine, I’m over it, it’s okay. That was the plan.

Kathrine Huet

“He would be so happy to see all the love he is receiving, comments and tributes. Since I heard the news, I haven’t moved and I take it personally. »

“We all lose someone great”

Because the news of the death of Paul Houde actually caused a shock wave across Quebec, provoking numerous reactions. His career in the media, which spanned 48 years, continued until very recently with radio appearances last December.


Paul Houde was at the helm of the show for 12 years Quebec now.

“I knew he was sick, that he had surgery, but I thought he was okay. It’s a shock to learn of such a sudden death,” confides to The Press radio host at 98.5 FM Paul Arcand. “He was first a colleague at work, but he quickly became a personal friend. He’s a worker. Someone who prepared everything carefully. He’s a funny guy, super friendly. So many good memories with him. »

On the same channel, but in a different slot, that of returning home, Paul Houde hosted the shows from 2007 Montreal now And Quebec now. Still under the Cogeco banner, it was also morning man at Rythme FM.


Paul Houde at the launch of Rythme FM Montréal programming, in 2003

“He was a great radio professional. He doesn’t worry about guys like that anymore. Professionals of this caliber no longer exist. Rigor, work, professionalism, working relationships: for all aspects of the profession, he gave the maximum he could give with the tools we gave him to work with,” says Yves Bombardier, who worked alongside Paul Houde at 98, 5 and at BPM Sports.

He will be remembered for “his great ability to remember dates and refer to the past with disconcerting certainty”. “I have lost a valuable professional friend, a pioneer for the industry. We all lose someone great. »

“We were waiting for his return”

From fall 2019 to spring 2022, the host was at the helm Paul Houde’s weekends before seeing the station put an end to their collaboration, a decision that he said he respected, but did not understand.

A dream opportunity, however, for the station BPM Sports, which recruited him to host a morning show, The morning clubwhere Paul Houde collaborated with Gilbert Delorme, Anthony Désaulniers and Kathrine Huet.

“He is a pioneer of radio, an incredible figure and a real encyclopedia of sport, so for us, to have Paul Houde on our airwaves, it was a privilege”, testifies the general director of the station, Alexandre Panneton .

Paul Houde, however, maintained a busy schedule which led him to make regular appearances on various shows, including The day (is still young)on ICI Première.

I spoke to Paul not too long ago. We awaited his return with great impatience. The day (is still young) and to Good evening ! I can’t believe he won’t come back.

Jean-Philippe Wauthier, host

With Paul Houde, he formed a real “duo”. “We had such a bond. It was a privilege to work with Paul. It was beyond my expectations. »

An abrupt departure

Last October, in the middle of the season, Paul Houde abruptly announced his departure from BPM Sports, a decision he said he had taken after having “underestimated the demands imposed by the morning show”, which prevented him from obtaining “a product up to the standard of [s]es expectations,” according to a press release issued at the time.

“He found it difficult in the morning. You have to get up at 3 a.m. to do the show at 6 a.m. and he also had obligations elsewhere, in the afternoon, even sometimes in the evening,” says Gilbert Delorme. “We thought that [son départ] was due to fatigue,” he said, adding that he subsequently learned of the existence of the illness that afflicted his colleague.

A sign of the rapid deterioration of his condition, Paul Houde was to participate with other actors in the film The Boys at a faceoff at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament which took place from February 7 to 18.

“About ten days before, Francine [Audette, conjointe et agente de Paul Houde] said to me: “Paul is sick, he won’t be able to go, he’s being held up.” I hoped it wasn’t serious,” relates Richard Goudreau, producer of Boys and friend of the deceased. “I had to announce it to the other actors of the Boys and it was a big shock for everyone. »

“He didn’t want it to come out,” he said of his friend’s illness. ” And [son opération] had gone well. That’s what’s incredible. All of a sudden, like that,” he adds, still in shock.


Paul Houde with actors Luc Guérin, Réal Béland, Michel Charette, Pierre Lebeau and Rémy Girard during the filming of the TV series The Boysin 2007

Many reactions

The announcement of the death of Paul Houde caused shock and turmoil in Quebec. Here are some of the reactions she received.

“What a nice man in public and in private. A long-time radio host, it was always nice to do an interview with him. I have such funny memories of his exchanges with Marc Labrèche and his character “Fern” in The Boys. A fan of numbers, he was the perfect commentator for the Olympic Games. My condolences to his family and loved ones,” declared Quebec Prime Minister François Legault on X.

“With his great wisdom, his inexhaustible talents and his genuine kindness, Paul Houde was adored by many. His death is an enormous loss and I offer my condolences to his family, his friends and all Quebecers affected by this sad news,” declared the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

“On behalf of all members of the RDS family, I would like to offer our most sincere condolences to the family of Paul Houde, particularly to his brother Pierre and his son Karl, but also to all his friends and work colleagues” , declared Charles Perreault, general manager of RDS. “Quebec today loses a communicator with extraordinary charisma, whose passion and sporting knowledge aroused the admiration and respect of all Quebecers. »

“I am sad, my friend […]your humor, your culture, your memory and our laughter… I would have had the chance to be one of your executive producers for your latest TV project, Paul in all his states… Today, it’s my turn to be…” wrote host Charles Lafortune.


Charles Lafortune and Paul Houde on the game board The circlein 2005

“I’m stunned!” Paul Houde, my long-time colleague at 98.5, has died! What a loss for the media world. How he knew everything, I still don’t know. His sports knowledge was second to none. I’m sad to see you go, my friend,” said Jérémy Filosa, journalist and colleague of Paul Houde.

“Canadians are saddened to learn of the death of Paul Houde and wish to offer their most sincere condolences to his family, in particular to his brother Pierre. Above all, being a man of exceptional quality, Paul was a monument to the media world in Quebec. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult ordeal, Pierre,” declared the Montreal Canadian.

With The Canadian Press

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