Daniel Langlois: Canadian entrepreneur and partner found dead in Dominica

Daniel Langlois
Image caption,Daniel Langlois was a pioneering animator

By Mike Wendling

BBC News

Canadian entrepreneur Daniel Langlois and his partner have been found dead in the Caribbean island nation of Dominica under suspicious circumstances.

The bodies of Mr Langlois and Dominique Marchand were discovered on Friday, reportedly in a burnt-out vehicle.

The couple had been missing for a day from an eco-resort they owned on the island.

Mr Langlois founded Softimage, an animation software firm whose product was used in major blockbuster films.

Three foreign nationals and one Dominican have been taken into custody over the incident, according to Dominica News Online, which cited Dominica’s National Security and Legal Affairs Minister Rayburn Blackmoore.

“This type of terrible crime and the brutality in this crime is something we cannot ignore and we cannot allow those responsible to go unpunished,” the minister said, according to Dominican media.

The BBC has contacted Dominican national police for comment.

Responding to reports that one of the four being questioned by police is an American citizen, a spokesperson for the US Department of State told the BBC: “We are aware of reports of the arrest of a US citizen in Dominica.

“Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment at this time.”

Little information was available about the deaths.

The Daniel Langlois Foundation, a philanthropic organisation created by the entrepreneur in 1997, said in a statement on Monday that the couple “died in tragic circumstances” on 1 December.

“In the coming weeks and months, details of the exact circumstances of their passing will be revealed as the Dominican police authorities and justice system proceed to the investigation,” the statement said.

The foundation said Mr Langlois’ “stellar career left a profound influence on contemporary cinema”.

Mr Langlois worked as a director and animator in the Canadian province of Quebec before founding Softimage in the 1980s. Its 3D animation software was used in the production of major film hits including Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Titanic.

In 1994, the company was sold to Microsoft for a reported $130m (£85m).

Three years after that sale, Mr Langlois shared an Academy Award in the scientific and technical category for Softimage animation components.

He maintained his involvement in the arts and film industries, including as president of the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, an independent film festival in Montreal.

More recently, Mr Langlois and Ms Marchand ran an eco-friendly resort, Coulibri Ridge, in Dominica and established the Resilient Dominica Project to help the island following Hurricane Maria, which killed 65 people and devastated the local economy.

Coulibri Ridge
Image caption,The couple owned an eco-resort, Coulibri Ridge

Ms Marchand worked with an animal charity, http://bolalmpupetak.com/ the Humane Society of Dominica, the foundation said.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge called Mr Langlois “a visionary in digital technologies and cinema”.

“His legacy reflects his innovative spirit. My thoughts are with his loved ones,” she wrote.

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