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Alleged Inventor of Controversial 'Hawaiian' Pizza Dies in Canada

by Associated Press /
A hawaiian pizza pieGancino / Getty Images/iStockphoto

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LONDON, Ontario — A Canadian man widely credited with inventing the pineapple-topped pizza has died at age 83.

An obituary by his family said Sam Panopoulos had been in hospital in London, Ontario, when he died suddenly on Thursday.

Panopoulos was born in Greece and emigrated to Canada in 1954. He told numerous news media that he made his first "Hawaiian" pizza in 1962 at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, after wondering if canned pineapple might make a tasty topping.

 A hawaiian pizza pie Gancino / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Some have disputed his claim. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this year issued a light-hearted tweet of support, referring to the dish as "a delicious southwestern Ontario creation."

He was responding to a joking suggestion by Iceland's President Gudni Johannesson that pineapple pizzas should be banned.

One of Panopoulos' sons described his father as a dedicated family man who "wasn't looking to get famous."

Bill Panopoulos said he didn't want to comment further, adding "the Hawaiian pizza story and his immigrant story were his to tell."

Panopoulos' funeral is set for Monday.

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