Sutherland said she died due to complications from pneumonia unrelated to COVID-19.
“My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life,” he wrote. “Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time and we, as a family, knew this day was coming. To any families who have lost loved ones unexpectedly to the coronavirus, my heart breaks for you. Please stay safe.”
Douglas, who celebrated her birthday three days ago, was married to actor Donald Sutherland from 1966-1971. They had twins, Kiefer and Rachel.
The actress was known for starring in Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film Lolita and David Cronenberg’s 1988 feature Dead Ringers. She won a Gemini Award, Canada’s equivalent of the Emmy Award, for the 1999 TV film Shadow Lake. In 1999, she and son Kiefer costarred in the drama film Woman Wanted, which also featured Holly Hunter.
Douglas enjoyed a long career that began in the 1950s. Her last film role was in the 2000 Canadian movie The Law of Enclosures, while her final TV appearance was in 2008’s Degrassi: The Next Generation.
As the daughter of Tommy Douglas, the New Democratic Party leader who brought medicare to Canada, the actress was also politically minded. She was one of the country’s loudest voices in support of publicly funded health care.
Fans have already begun their tributes to Douglas, including many who remembered meeting her in the past.
“I met your mother, #ShirleyDouglas, only once, many years ago,” one fan tweeted in response to Sutherland’s post. “She was extremely pleasant and spoke highly of you. Losing a parent is like losing a part of yourself. My thoughts are with you and I wish you peace and strength.”
Another supporter spoke of Douglas’ importance in the Canadian entertainment space.
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“Kiefer, I loved watching your mom’s work. Her presence & voice were unmistakable,” Rachel Bee wrote. “She was a pillar of Canadian stage & screen, & we were so lucky to get to see the commitment, curiousity & joy she brought to her craft. Thank you for sharing her with us. Sending your family love.”
Douglas is also survived by her son, Thomas, and Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter, Veep’s Sarah Sutherland.