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Gary Canter, scion of Canter's Deli, dead at 58 of apparent heart attack

Restaurateur Gary Canter, grandson of Canter's Deli founder Ben Canter, died Tuesday night at his Los Angeles home at the age of 58.

Canter was found unresponsive at 7:29 p.m. in a residence on the 400 block of South Highland Avenue, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said.

Winter said he believed Canter died of natural causes.

A statement on Canter’s personal Facebook page says he died from an “apparent massive heart attack.''

A statement posted on the Facebook page for the Canter's Deli food truck also addressed the loss.

“Last night, Gary Canter passed away. We are deeply saddened & shocked by his sudden death. Gary lit up whatever room he walked into with his charisma, generosity, & kindness. His love for his family, friends, and Canter's deli was profound. Buddy Buddy will be very missed by all,'' the post read.

The 24-hour deli at 419 N. Fairfax Ave. has long been a popular show business hangout. Ben Canter and two brothers opened the first Canter's in Boyle Heights in 1931. According to the company's website, the restaurant was moved to Fairfax in the 1950s, with help from Ben Canter's daughter Selma Udko and her then-husband, Harold Price.

Co-owner Terri Bloomgarden, Gary Canter's cousin, said that Canter's will remain open as usual, but she wasn't sure whether the restaurant would be hosting any memorials.

“It's all too new,'' she said. “He was a brother, a son, a cousin ... Gary was a person with a big heart and a big personality, and he'll be missed,” Bloomgarden said.

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