Canadian eco resort owner and partner found dead in Dominica

Daniel Langlois (Facebook)
Daniel Langlois (Facebook)

A legendary animator who worked on Hollywood blockbusters has been found dead in a burned out car on a Caribbean island alongside his partner.

Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand were discovered on Friday in Dominica, where they owned an eco resort.

The couple had been missing for several days before they were found.

Mr Langlois founded Softimage, an animation software firm whose product was used in major blockbuster films 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 $130 million (£85 million).

Most recently Mr Langlois had run the eco resort and set up home on Dominica.

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.

The minister said: "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."

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."

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

It added: "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 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.

He remained involved 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, and established the Resilient Dominica Project to help the island following Hurricane Maria, which killed 65 people and devastated the local economy.

Ms Marchand worked with an animal charity, 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.

Journalist Matthew Hays wrote on Facebook: "Langlois was a tech entrepreneur and one of the key visionaries who paved the way for Montreal's tech boom.

"He founded Softimage and sold it to Microsoft for $200 million in '94. He invested back in Montreal, creating Ex-Centris in '99, his very ambitious film and arts centre.

"I profiled Langlois for The Hollywood Reporter in 2003. He was very invested in Montreal and in promoting the city as a creative hub. Very sad to hear of his passing, and to have gone in such a violent way.RIP Daniel and Dominique."