John Candy’s children pay tribute to dad on 30th anniversary of death

’30 years ago today … feels like both a lifetime with and without you’

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John Candy’s children paid tribute to their late dad this week, which marked the 30th anniversary of his death at age 43.

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On Monday, the late actor’s daughter, Jennifer Candy-Sullivan, shared a throwback family photo in which she posed smiling alongside her dad and younger brother Chris Candy in a touching family moment.

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“30 years ago today … feels like both a lifetime with and without you,” Jennifer, 44, wrote. “Miss you and love you always ❤️ #johncandy.”

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Candy’s son shared a photo of his dad posing in a colourful Hawaiian-print shirt, bathed in a ray of sunlight.

“All my love to my father today. #johncandy,” Chris, 39, captioned his post.

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“He was the best dad,” Jennifer told TODAY.com, reflecting on her father. “He’d say, ‘Don’t worry what people think about you. Just be your authentic self.’”

Jennifer went on to add that family came first for her dad.

“The other thing about my dad, is that he was the ultimate family guy,” she continues. “That’s the reason he didn’t want to do Saturday Night Live. He knew the lifestyle wasn’t going to be healthy for him. He was smart in that way.”

On social media, fans debated their favourite John Candy role (I’m going with Del Griffith from Planes, Trains and Automobiles).

One fan spoke for pretty much everyone, calling Candy “one of the funniest people Canada has ever produced.”

Another wrote: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years now since this gentle genius left us. I legit cried that morning when I found out. #JohnCandy just had a quality about him that always seemed genuine and sincere. He made the world a better place. Just wish he’d had more time.”

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After a starting his career in the 1970s in Toronto as a member of Second City and the SCTV sketch comedy series, Candy went on to appear in such beloved films as Uncle Buck, Splash, The Great Outdoors, Spaceballs, Cool Runnings and many more.

Several of Candy’s co-stars also paid tribute to the comedian, with his Planes, Trains and Automobiles castmate Steve Martin telling PEOPLE: “John’s comedy lives on, but my memory of him has the words ‘kindness’ and ‘sweetness’ in the headlines.”

Candy was “just as lovely as you’d want him to be” his former SCTV and Home Alone co-star Catherine O’Hara added to the publication.

Meanwhile, Cool Runnings director Jon Turteltaub called Candy the best kind of actor. “When you were with John, he did something very few brilliantly funny and famous people do: He laughed at other people’s jokes,” Turteltaub told PEOPLE.

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“That’s actually a big deal. He made people feel welcome. He made people feel wanted,” he said.

Candy died of a suspected heart attack at age 43 in Mexico while filming Wagons East in 1994, which was released posthumously.

His final credited screen role was as Bud B. Boomer in Michael Moore’s Canadian Bacon, a comedic satire in which a fictional U.S. president boosts his sagging popularity by convincing the American public Canadians are preparing to rise up against their neighbours to the south.

Both of Candy’s children followed in his footsteps and work as actors and writers in Los Angeles. The pair will also participate in an upcoming documentary examining their dad’s impact that will be produced by Ryan Reynolds and Colin Hanks.

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In a 2016 conversation with the Hollywood Reporter, his kids recounted their final conversations with their dad while he was on set.

“I remember talking to him the night before he passed away and he said, ‘I love you and goodnight.’ And I will always remember that,” Chris said.

“So I was talking to him on the phone, and, I hate this, but I was slightly distant because I was studying,” Jennifer told the outlet. “So I was like, ‘Yeah, OK, I love you. I will talk to you later. Have a great night.’ Then I hang up, and I go back to studying.”

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