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Painting by Diane Russell
Painting by Diane Russell

Jimmy Makarounis, owner of Jimmy Mak's passes the day after the club's final show / Updated

The throat cancer that caused him to close the club cost him his life. / Updated with family statement. / Painting by Diane Russell

Jimmy Makarounis...Jimmy Mak, owner of Portland's premier music venue which bore his name passed away of throat cancer in the past 24 hours.

On the club's Facebook page was this statement:

"Our beloved friend and mentor, Jimmy Makarounis, passed away early this morning after a prolonged battle with cancer. He will be remembered by those who loved and knew him for his kindness, tenacity and unending generosity. We will carry on with his spirit in our hearts. Details will be forthcoming regarding services and arrangements. On behalf of the Makarounis family we thank you all for your love and support in this difficult time."

He was quoted in his statement on announcing the closure of the club, which had it's last performance on Saturday, December 31, just hours before his death.

“ 'It is with a heavy heart I make this announcement,” Makarounis said. “Jimmy Mak’s has been a family home to world-class musicians of many different genres, particularly the city’s best jazz players. The club also presents many of the world’s top jazz and blues players and has become a significant West Coast stop on many of these artists’ tours.”

Makarounis is currently undergoing immunotherapy treatments for cancer of the larynx, which has intensified in the past five weeks. His doctors insist that he step away from Jimmy Mak’s business to focus solely on healing.'

Here is Diane Russell's photo gallery on the final week of shows.

Here is OMN's "Day in the Nightlife: Jimmy Mak's" from 2010.

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David Kahl

Jimmy was about as close to family as it gets. I grew up calling his mom "Auntie" and she was the one who instilled a lifelong love for reading, having given me the very first books I owned. Like her, Jimmy gave voice to others, a home where creative imagination would create worlds that, if even for a moment, would take us away from the ills, struggles, and strife of the world. The memories, as with the imprint of his passionate vision, however, will continue to live, long after any of us are gone, a legacy that will, God willing, be passed along and taken up by others who honor the tradition of the elders, the storytellers, and all that is good.

Peace, Cousin. May your memory be eternal.

Michael Braeback

So sad the passing of the club and the owner . RIP Jimmy Mack .

Ginger Caviness

A Portland music legend and venue visionary has passed on. My condolences to the family and I pray for new hope and a vivid future for west coast stop for artists' tours. Respectfully, Ginger

Tom Mack

Saw Soul Vaccination there back in April...loved that venue! RIP Jimmy Mak :(

Sapphron obois

As a sax player from Los Angeles, after spending some time in Portland for a month, it saddens me to see this club owner pass on after his club closed. Hopefully someone will open a new club that caters to national musicians and locals the way Jimmy Maks did. It seemed to exemplify the wonderful music scene in Portland. A double loss for the city losing the club and now, the owner.

Tiger Wiese Jones

Such a sad loss...Jimmy and now the club. We'll keep you in our hearts. Thank you for all the years of great jazz.

Kristine Johnson

I would humbly like to thank Jimmy Maks for providing the grateful public with many enjoyable nights and outstanding music. Jimmy and the Makarounis family will always be in our hearts, and continued prayers.
The opportunity to provide great and diverse music to the under 21 crowd was excellent and inspiring. Thank you for that gift to the youth of Portland, now grown better because of you!
And, the Angels sing......Rest now, you left this earth better than you found it.

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