Gone Too Soon: The Sun’s Sherri Wood Dead At 28

It’s not fucking right.  Not fucking right at all.
In this space on September 4th last year, I wanted to know the whereabouts of a number of Sun Media columnists.  After it was published, I was privately asked via email to remove two paragraphs which was upsetting because that section of the item was the whole motivation for the story in the first place.  However, as requested, they were taken out.  There was no legitimate reason to leave them in.
In one instance, I now understand why.
There was this entertainment reporter in The Toronto Sun who would file stories on the local club scene.  I don’t remember ever seeing her picture until either 2005 or 2006, but when I did, I was smitten.  I wondered why the paper took so long to reveal how hot she was.  In her original Sun photo, she had long, wavy hair, dark with blonde streaks up top.  She offered a shy smile.  Lips closed.  Dimple power downplayed.  Sweet puppy-dog brown eyes.  Suddenly, I took an interest in her work.  I’m not a fan of the tiny, cramped, sweaty music venue (I’m not a big booster of live music at all, actually.  Too damn loud.), so I didn’t naturally gravitate to those items in The Sun.  However, I did read music critic Jane Stevenson’s big venue concert reports, especially when she was writing about my favourite bands.  (I wanted to know what I was missing.)  But after seeing this young woman’s pic, I started reading her.  I should’ve read her from the start. 
She would cover gigs (mostly small ones, although she did review a Pearl Jam show in 2006), interview bands and there was even the time she wrote a review of the documentary, Hardcore.  In her rave of the film, she wondered why women were so underrepresented.  She mentioned actress Christine Elise by her Beverly Hills 90210 character’s name, noting that it’s not clear what role she played in the American underground punk scene.  The name wasn’t familiar to me, either, so I went on Google and tried to find a connection.  I figured I’d pass my findings on to her after a short time.  Unfortunately, my search came up empty.  Regardless, I always wanted to email her to let her know that I was a fan.  But I could never figure out how to say it just right.  So the idea of contacting her was abandoned.  She’ll never know how much this non-clubber enjoyed reading her stuff.
And then there were the appearances on Canoe Live, Sun TV’s news show.  (She also appeared as a judge on a one-time revival of City-TV’s Electric Circus.)  I had this weird sense of timing where the few times I tuned in, she just happened to be on talking about entertainment, particularly local events in Toronto.  She always looked different in every appearance.  One time, she wore some kind of hat that made her look so fetching even if it did needlessly hide her beautiful hair.  On another occasion, I think this was around Oscar time in 2007, her hair (much shorter) was in pigtails and, much to my delight, she wore glasses.  (I have a fetish.) She had a total Catholic school girl look going that night.  It was hard not to sigh. 
I listened intently to every word she said.  I could listen to her all day long.  She had a sexy voice (another fetish) and was never boring.  Just like her print articles, she was bright and lively.  She seemed like a nice, easygoing woman.  I wonder what it would’ve been like to just have a coffee with her.  I envy everyone who did.
When I learned today through my friend Bill Brioux’s TV Feeds My Family Blog that she had died, a nearly year-long mystery had finally been revealed.
Sherri Wood’s last Sun column was published Sunday, April 15, 2007.  (It’s not on the official website, for some strange reason.  I always thought her last words appeared on April 12.)  Not too long afterwards, the paper posted a notice proclaiming that she would return.  Sadly, that will never happen now.  The reason:  brain cancer.
According to this report by The Sun’s John Kryk, almost immediately after filing that review of a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah gig, something shocking happened:
“Within hours of filing, she collapsed suddenly and was rushed to hospital, right out of the blue.
Her brain was hemorrhaging — she’d unknowingly had tumours for years — and was fast dying. She was given last rites but, unsurprisingly to all who know her, she hung on. Within weeks, Sherri was on her feet, vowing to make a complete recovery.
Yesterday, she lost that battle.”
She was only 28 years old.  How incredibly sad for her family, her friends and her colleagues at The Sun.  Toronto’s entertainment scene has lost an energetic champion and critic.  Readers, like me, will miss her words and her TV appearances.  It’s not fucking fair.
Understandably, both The Sun and Sherri’s family were very protective of her and therefore, made zero public mention of her brutal battle with cancer.  Even if I had known how difficult her last year was, this website would’ve kept it a secret, too.
Since The Sun website hasn’t done a particularly good job of archiving her past work, Google “sherri wood” “toronto sun”, just like that, to find some of her pieces.  Also, The Toronto Sun Family Blog wants your tributes and comments about her life and work here.  Feel free to leave comments on this entry, as well.
It’s been a tough few days for Toronto’s Other Voice.  They also lost George Gross recently.  More on that here, here, here and here.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
2:49 p.m.
UPDATE:  The Sun has gathered some thoughtful and moving tributes from friends, family, music business professionals, work colleagues and others here.  Another nice eulogy here.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
10:43 p.m.
Published in: on March 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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