RIP ‘Big Tom’ Fitzgerald

Story hit on Wednesday morning on the passing of “Big Tom” Fitzgerald who was a DJ at K-Rock in St. John’s.  His birthday would’ve been tomorrow I found out while listening to the station online this morning.

K-Rock host Big Tom passes away
CBC News Posted: Apr 25, 2012

Tom Fitzgerald, a host for St. John’s radio station K-Rock 97.5 who was best known as Big Tom, died Wednesday. He had earlier suffered a heart attack.

“The irony of Tom’s passing being linked to his heart isn’t lost on anyone,” the station said in a statement posted on its website.

Fitzgerald, 38, was known for a gravelly voice and a playful personality. He appeared on the station’s morning program, but had a large following for a weekend program called Saturday In The Shed.

“Before Tommy, Big was just another word,” the K-Rock 97.5 statement said. “A word they’d put in front of ‘deal’ or ‘savings’. Tom quickly owned that word. He was larger than life.”

Fitzgerald’s heart attack had prompted an outpouring of support.

“The Fitzgerald family would like to thank you for all your prayers and support,” the statement said.

Found the story first on Twitter, which happens a lot these days. Tom Power who is on CBC Radio 2 had these tweets that I saw first.

Before I started at CBC, I worked for VOCM. Big Tom was always kind and wonderful to me. A hilarious, humble man. I’ll miss him.

How about that. Big Tom is the 4th place Trending Topic in Canada right now on Twitter. Crazy. He made quite an impact.

Geoff Meeker’s at The Telegram has a story on Big Tom. Fitzgerald had no background in being on air in radio but applied for an on air position a decade ago. Geoff’s blog is worth a read and here are a couple of parts.

“I remember that day clearly,” Steele recalled. “He wanted a shot at going on the air, but he didn’t think he would get it. I talked to him, and man, he was so bummed out. The wind was out of his sails. He wanted to do it so bad.”

Of course, Tom DID get the job, and immediately thrived in the role of radio personality.

“He wasn’t a traditional radio guy, in that mould. He didn’t have any formal training. He was just a real guy. He was totally a natural at it, and was able to connect. You will find people with smoother deliveries, formal training, who can give you the time and weather and all that stuff, but they don’t connect. But Tom had that great ability to connect, and that’s something you can’t learn. It’s just something that you have, and he had it. He had charisma… We (at Steele Communications) may have set him loose on the world, but it was Tom who created himself. He was the real deal, and that’s why he connected – why he was so successful at it.


Tom leaves a daughter, Sophie, who Steele says was “dearly loved – the apple of his eye” and a former wife with whom he remained close. “I had a good, long conversation with Tom, just a couple of days before all this happened, and we talked about a lot of things. He said he had a very good relationship with his ex-wife, and was very pleased about that, you know? It’s a big loss, a big loss. But it will be felt the most by his family. It’s very sad.”

I grabbed a bunch of tweets I found who talked about Tom on Wednesday. On the K-Rock Facbeook page there are currenlty 788 comments on the thread in Big Tom’s memory. And almost 3400 likes on it as well. Friday’s episode will be dedicated to him.

Candice Udle
Tom has been like a Big Brother to me. Words can’t describe how i feel right now. Not only did I lose a co-worker, but i lost a best friend

The Novaks
very shocked and saddened to hear about “Big” Tom Fitzgerald. Tom was a stand up guy and we praise his many, many hours of great charity work. our condolences to his family and friends, his band mates, and everyone at K-ROCK. you will be missed Tommy.

Toni-Marie Wiseman
I would like to pass along my deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Big Tom; and from what I have seen, he was loved by thousands.

TaraOram ‏
RIP Tom Fitzgerald. #krock

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Big Tom Fitzgerald and his family & friends. Thanks for waking us up Tom. You will be missed.

Kevin Kelly ‏ @KKellyNFHerald
His laugh and his energy won’t soon be forgotten. Rest in Peace to “Big Tom” Fitzgerald of K-Rock. He was definitely larger than life.

Rex Goudie ‏ @ReallyRexGoudie
Big Tom Fitzgerald was one of the most real people I’ve ever met in media. True to himself, and fun because of it. #RIPBigTom.

Very sad to hear the news on Tom Fitzgerald (Big Tom)! Great fellow he will be missed by many!

Fred Hutton ‏ @FredHuttonNTV
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and K-Rock colleagues of “Big Tom” Fitzgerald. RIP Big Tom!

Tara Bradbury ‏ @tara_bradbury
Rest in peace, Tom “Big Tom” Fitzgerald. You’ll be missed.

David Cochrane ‏ @CochraneCBCNL
RIP “Big Tom” Fitzgerald of K-Rock. Passed away this morning. Terrible loss.

VOCM Backtalk
RIP Tommy Fitzgerald. He was my friend. I can’t believe he is gone. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. #RIPBigTom #love

Paul Kinsman ‏ @PaulKinsman
#RIPBigTom A natural broadcaster with a rare gift, the ability to connect with people instantly. I’m floored. Can think of nothing else.

The airwaves are sad this morning after the death of our friend Big Tom Fitzgerald. Condolences to his family & colleagues at @975krock

Steve Kent PC
Rest in Peace, Big Tom @bigtom975. Saddened by this news. My thoughts and prayers are with Tom’s family and friends. #RIPBigTom

paul brothers ‏ @paulbrothers
Big Tom trending on twitter is a testament to what he meant to Newfoundland radio. Very sad day. #RIPBigTom

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