TORONTO – Wallace McCain, 81, chairman of Maple leaf Foods and Canadian food industry pioneer, has died after a lengthy struggle with pancreatic cancer. Wallace's successor as chairman will be determined by the Maple Leaf Foods Board of Directors, according to a news release.

"Wallace made an indelible impact on Maple Leaf Foods, our country and the food industry globally," said Purdy Crawford, lead director of the Maple Leaf Foods Board of Directors. "He had a rare gift for business that was driven by his personal courage, love of people, and sharp insights. His incredible accomplishments came about because of his perseverance, humility and belief in others. Wallace's efforts to support his community, and those less fortunate, were tireless. He was an extraordinary man, with a huge heart, and we will miss him profoundly."

Chairman of Maple Leaf Foods and co-founder and vice chairman of McCain Foods, Wallace was a pioneer of the Canadian food industry. He co-founded McCain Foods in 1956 with his brother, Harrison, and built it into a multi-billion dollar global French fry and frozen foods company. In 1995, the McCain family, together with a financial partner, acquired a controlling interest in Maple Leaf Foods and evolved it into Canada's largest bakery and prepared meats company. Maple Leaf Foods employs 21,000 people at operations throughout Canada, the US, the United Kingdom and in Asia.

"Wallace McCain was an inspiration, as a father, businessman and humanitarian,” said Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “His incredible success in business was always balanced with the importance of family and community. He had unwavering values that defined him and everything he did. My family and the entire Maple Leaf community deeply mourn his passing, but also celebrate his life and the contribution he made to so many people."

McCain is survived by his wife, Margaret, four children and nine grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are to be announced by the family. For more information,