Toronto-based film critic John Harkness died at his home on Tuesday. A one-time Canadian correspondent for Screen International and the lead film writer for Toronto weekly NOW Magazine since its 1981 inception, Harkness was a constant figure at Cannes and widely-respected by Toronto cinephiles -- and feared by Canadian filmmakers.

NOW editor Michael Hollett told reporters that Harkness had never missed a deadline in 26 years. When the critic missed his latest filing, a person was sent to check on him and discovered his body.

Harkness, a native of Montreal, did graduate work at Columbia University in New York under critic Andrew Sarris. Harkness was also a contributor to the UK film magazine Sight and Sound.

'John Harkness was simply the best film critic in Canada over the last 26 years,' said Hollet in statement. 'He has been an essential element of NOW magazine's success and his unique vision and bravery and art in expressing it inspired all of us at NOW to strive.'