Mark Leduc’s death

Mark Leduc died 22 July 2009 at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. I don’t know all the circumstances that led to his death, and, as I explained elsewhere, his surviving boyfriend won’t talk. But the most important thing to understand is the press lied about Mark’s death. Every newspaper report – even the one in Xtra, the Toronto gay paper – claimed Mark had been pulled unconscious from “a hotel sauna.” He was never at “a hotel sauna,” whatever that is. He was at the St. Marc Spa, a now-defunct gay bathhouse. According to reports, Mark went into organ failure while in the hospital and died.

I am just guessing about the following, but it is reasonable given Mark’s history with drugs and alcohol. He probably took the wrong drug or combination thereof, and maybe also poppers, and possibly also really was in the sauna at the St. Marc Spa. That combination, which I must emphasize is nothing but my informed speculation, caused him to collapse. I have no idea what being “pulled” from a sauna means, but in any event surely he was evacuated by ambulance. He later died in hospital, not at St. Marc Spa or a hotel.


The Toronto Star obituary (Danielle Wong, 2009.07.25) said the following: “Leduc died at St. Michael’s Hospital Wednesday night after he was found unconscious in a local hotel sauna early Sunday morning, [Leduc’s brother-in-law Mark] Johnson said, adding doctors believe Leduc had suffered a heatstroke that damaged his internal organs.”

Xtra’s obituary, which likely was a rewrite of the Star’s, simply stated “Leduc was found unconscious in the sauna of a Toronto hotel on Sunday morning.”

Those statements are false. (I cannot locate the Danielle Wong who wrote the Star’s piece to ask about her sourcing. Xtra’s article was unbylined.)

The truth was first published by former Xtra developer Justin Stayshyn on Twitter:

From silver medallist to dying alone in a bathhouse. Story of his fall and neglect possibly too dark for click-hungry media…. It was St. Marc’s. They tweeted about a man passing out that night and I confirmed it with staff later.

(I read the entire St. Marc Spa Twitter archives and found nothing that matches what Stayshyn said he saw.)

The facts were later directly confirmed by Rolyn Chambers, who used to work at the St. Marc Spa, in a comment thread on that, like all comments, has now been deleted. The article concerned a short film about the St. Marc Spa; when I mentioned Mark’s name, Rolyn Chambers wrote “Yes, Marc [sic] Leduc was found unconscious at St. Marc Spa (he did not die there).”

(For reference, I put together a tagged PDF of that Twitter conversation and the Xtra story.)

As for Marc’s cause of death, I have to take the published accounts at face value. I have no knowledge of an autopsy, nor would I have access to the results of one. As one would expect, Marc’s death certificate does not list a cause of death.

Mark Leduc’s death certificate