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Emru Townsend, RIP

Emru Townsend
Emru (r.) with sister Tamu

Our friend and colleague Emru Townsend passed away last night after a brave battle with leukemia. Emru was the founder of the print and online magazine FPS Magazine and one of the sincerest, most passionate and articulate animation critics around.

He put up a valiant fight against his illness over the past year, and in doing so he brought awareness about the importance of bone marrow donation. It’s something easy that almost anybody can do, and it can save a life. To learn more about how you can become a bone marrow donor, visit HealEmru.com.

From both Jerry and Amid, we want to offer our sincere condolences to Emru’s entire family, and particularly his sister Tamu who is an active member of the animation community and an important part of FPS’s online presence. Emru will be missed.

Remembrances of Emru are beginning to be posted online:
Richard O’Connor
Matt Forsythe
Vicky Tamaru
“StandingInTheMiddleOfLife” (nice writeup)
Dan Tynan
Madeline Ashby
Mark Mayerson
Chris Robinson
Harry McCracken
Didier Ghez

Emru Townsend
Emru (c.) with animators Ward Jenkins (l.) and Pat Smith (r.)

  • Brian O.

    All my best to the Townsend family. He had to have been a real fighter the past year. I’ve seen first-hand the devastation leukemia has on the body and also the miracles bone marrow donation brings. People may gripe that their own personal contributions in life do not matter but being a donor does make a difference; your life, their life, families, friends…

  • I am sad to hear about this, and sorry I never got the chance to meet Emru. I know he contributed a lot to the animation community and I always heard so many great things about him. My prayers go out to his family and friends.

  • Paul N

    I never met Emru in person, but I did have a handful of interactions with him online. In every instance I found him to be pleasant, helpful, and a true professional. His loss will be deeply felt.

  • Inkan1969

    I’m very saddened to read this. I remember reading Ermu’s post on the read news groups. His family has my deepest sympathies.

  • I just saw this on Mark Mayerson’s blog earlier this morning. So sorry to hear of Emru’s passing . I had hoped that the transplant would have granted him many more years , but I’m very sad that it was not to be .

    Our animation community has lost a great friend (who I am sorry to say I never knew personally, only through his writing) , but my sincere condolences go out to Emru’s family who have suffered a much greater loss.

  • Like David Nethery, I never knew Emru personally—only indirectly, through our apa and his other writing. My heart goes out to his family, as well as to others who knew him well. With his creative drive and unmatchable empathy for others, Emru has been a guiding light in our community. So many of us will miss him.

  • Emilie

    All my condolences to the family! I never met Emru in person either, but I am so thankful for his initiatives and events he organized here in Montreal. FPS is a fantastic magazine (I first read it in the print format). Long live FPS and a big hug to the family!

  • I was privileged to know Emru. Not to say that we were best of buddies and had drinks every friday night, but we met at pretty much any big animation events in and around Montreal. He was always fun to chat with, enthusiastic about animation and so smart and bright.
    He will be very very missed. Most heartfelt sympathies to his close friends and family.

  • Niall

    Like Johane, I knew Emru in passing, though he’s known me since the early FPS days. It wasn’t a real Ottawa Animation Fesitval without him, and it will never be the same.

    Emru was a giant, and an inspiration. His loss is still a shock. My most sincere condolences to Tamu and the rest of his family and friends.

  • Emru interviewed Tony Apodaca and I, back when I was at Pixar, during the early days of FPS. I just recently ran across a print version of the article even, in my office ‘archives’ (read: big unsorted boxes).

    I was impressed with his excitement and commitment to animation. Animation has lost an enthusiastic supporter.

  • Enoch Allen

    I’m shocked, to say the least.

    I was 16 when I first began reading Mr. Townsend’s articles on anime. He wrote about aspects of animation that received little to no attention, and this fact excited me greatly. Here, finally, someone was writing about something that appealed to me.

    Like I said at the outset, I’m saddened to learn this. I can’t believe this. My sincerest condolences to his family.

  • My god no….[weeps]

    Blood cancers are hideous, insidious diseases. One, Multiple Myeloma, took my beloved Richie Hass away. AML, the type of Leukemia Emru had, also robbed me of another good friend who was one of Richie’s bandmates.

    I had Chronic Fatigue, so I can’t do what I would want to do and make sure I was on a marrow donor list. CFIDS also disqualifies you from giving blood.

    And in Emru’s case, it wasn’t for lack of health care. He was in CANADA and had a sane health care system.

    Folks…we need to band together and do whatever we can to keep the research going against the Leukemias, against the Lymphomas, and against Multiple Myeloma. We need to find the cures for these cruel diseases. Do it for Emru. Do it for that little kid who’s dying of Leukemia but whose final wish is launching food drives for the homeless and hungry all over the US. Do it so that nobody else like Emru or Richie is taken from us by a ravening beast from within.


  • A dear friend to many, colleague and beautiful soul, Emru was a sweet and brilliant man who was more focused on life than death. In its latin roots, “to animate” means “to give life to” and Emru was a man who fully animated life, even in his death. From the moment Emru and Tamu, his sister, learned of his having leukemia they made public Emru’s journals as he wrote about his process. Emru’s tenacity of spirit for good to replace any sense of remorse in response to this illness showed up as he instigated a world-wide campaign for awareness and support of bone marrow transplants, while, unselfishly and generously, he gave of himself as a father, a husband, a brother, and a son. This was a courageous man who would prefer we dance the night away in tribute to his life rather than mourn the sadness of his death, although we will inevitably feel the loss of such a vital force. So let’s dance … let’s animate, let’s give life to … in honor of a man more focused on life than death.

    Let us celebrate the life of Emru’s parents’ and grandparents’ “Happy Wedding Anniversary” on Saturday and Sunday. This is a family who reminds us that life is good.

    I will miss our colleague and friend, but will continue to smile when thinking of how “in love” Emru was with animation … so much so, he lived it.