TORONTO - Canadian officials are mourning the loss of a man credited with taking the Toronto International Film Festival to the international level it now holds.

Murray 'Dusty' Cohl died Friday in hospital from cancer. He was 78.

Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley says his father knew Cohl, a visionary whose tenacity and charm put Canada on the entertainment industry map.

Onley - a former broadcaster - says Cohl's company bought the movie rights to his book "Shuttle" about the space shuttle catastrophe, though a film was never made.

But he says Cohl invited him to the film festival in 1981 where he met movie producers, starts and other industry heavyweights.

Toronto Mayor David Miller says the city lost a "true champion" in Cohl, who played a huge role in the development of the city's film industry.

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