So funny, so full of life, so full of energy. Gone at the age of 31.

Yesterday’s news of the passing of Daniel Di Giacomo, bassist with the Ottawa-based country band River Town Saints, was like taking a sucker punch to gut…AND…having your mind numbed so the shock wouldn’t register properly. It’s still hard to process a day later. A blood clot, moving from his leg to his heart, is believed to be the cause of his untimely death.

To paraphrase one of their singles, Daniel, You Got to Us.

When the band went on their first radio tour three years ago, Tillsonburg and Country 107.3 were their first stop. Their second single, “Cherry Bomb,” had just come out and having watched the music video for that song and their first single, “A Little Bit Goes a Long Way,” you knew they were talented and funny. When they came in to be interviewed and perform live on the air, I didn’t know they were that funny. Listening back to a recording of that visit, there was a lot of laughing.

Daniel did an amazing Barack Obama impression. His sense of humour is what you noticed first. At times, it was self-deprecating. Other times, it was laser-focused on others, mainly his bandmates (they were able to deftly return it), and once in a while he would focus it at you. It was a form of endearment that worked both ways: from him to you and you to him. I “zinged” him a few times, probably more times than he “zinged” me. I think it was because he let me and I think he appreciated it.

On stage, he’d step out front and do a rap set for fun and at the same time showing how accomplished he was a musician. The Saints also did some hilarious video vignettes for social media that would leave you howling with laughter.

Another thing that really impressed me about Daniel was how able he was to intelligently discuss and debate that most divisive of topics: politics. He more than held his own. And he did it with the same thing he approached everything. He did it with passion.

Daniel’s star burned bright in a very short time. It seemed his mission was to entertain you, with his music and his jokes. Mission accomplished.

Deepest condolences to his family, the members of The River Town Saints, his friends and fans.

It’s natural to react to such a great loss by trying to make sense out of it, by trying to learn from Daniel’s life and passing at such a way-too-soon age. Others have said it already. More will say it in the days to come. If there is a lesson here, it’s to embrace the ones you love more, tell them you love them more, appreciate them more, and let them know you do. But the reality of everyday life sucks us away from that ideal and, before we know it, we’re back at it. Back at the seemingly less important doldrums of life’s everyday duties. And we file that lesson somewhere in the back of our minds. I never had this deep discussion with Daniel about that. But I think I know how he would have reacted.

He would have seriously pondered the truthfulness of it. Then he would have shrugged his shoulders because he, like the rest of us, don’t understand it. And then he would have laughed at it.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the funeral expenses. (