The founder of an iconic Etobicoke bakery has died of COVID-19.
SanRemo Bakery posted on its Instagram account that founder Natale Bozzo died after spending more than six weeks in hospital.
The 75-year-old was reportedly in good health before he caught the virus.
“He fought very hard, he was in good health prior to this, and we learned of his failing health through very difficult phone calls from the hospital and thankfully we were able to say goodbye,” the family said in an Instagram post. “He was larger than life and we will miss him dearly and will work very hard to keep his memory alive and to honour him.”
Bozzo came to Canada from Italy at the age of 15 and began working at a bakery in Little Italy before opening SanRemo in 1969 with his brothers. He took over sole ownership of the bakery in the 90s, manning the business with his three sons. Even in retirement, Bozzo could still be seen at the bakery, lending a hand “as it was his passion,” his family said.
SanRemo closed for two weeks last month after some staff tested positive for the virus.
The bakery says the store has gone through a thorough deep-clean and the affected staff were working off hours and had no contact with customers.
After the news broke out Thursday evening about Bozzo, some took to social media to remember the beloved baker.
Natale was a great man with an incredible story, who alongside his wife Nicoletta raised an amazing family.
My heart goes out to his family, his friends, and all of the people who’s lives he touched over the years. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/Wh9Hf5Zd3E
— Mark Grimes (@Mark_Grimes) February 18, 2021
My sincere condolences on the passing of Natale Bozzo. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bozzo family. We have lost a legend. @SanRemoBakeryTO is one of my favourite Etobicoke bakeries.
— Bonnie Crombie ???????? (@BonnieCrombie) February 19, 2021
Deepest condolences to my friends at @SanRemoBakeryTO in #Etobicoke, and to the entire Bozzo family, on the passing of Natale. I hope that many cherished memories from the time you spent together can help to ease the pain of loss at this very difficult time. pic.twitter.com/6S72mRzirZ
— Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP (@RudyCuzzetto) February 19, 2021