Celebrated Canadian conductor Boris Brott has died after being struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run in Hamilton Tuesday morning.

He was 78.

An officer of the Order of Canada and the Order of Quebec, as well as a member of the Order of Ontario, Brott founded the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and the Brott Music Festival, Canada's largest orchestral music festival.

He also served as artistic director and Conductor of the Orchestre classique de Montréal, whose board of directors issued a statement on Twitter following his death, calling him the "beating heart" of the orchestra.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath tweeted her condolences to Brott's family, calling him a "visionary Canadian conductor" who shared his love of music with Hamilton and the world.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger also paid tribute to Brott.

"Boris was not only a giant in the classical music world, he was also a giant for promoting and building Hamilton and his efforts over decades helped lift our community to new heights," Eisenberger said in a statement issued late Tuesday night. "Boris leaves a legacy of musical excellence and humanitarianism that is unmatched. It is a void for Hamilton that cannot be ever filled. Such a tragic loss!"

Brott is survived by his wife, author Ardyth Brott, and their three children Ben, Alexandra, and David.

Hamilton police say officers were called shortly after 10 a.m. on Tuesday about a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road on the Hamilton Mountain.

Approximately 20 minutes later, a man now identified as Brott was struck and taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The driver fled the scene and was arrested shortly afterwards following a brief chase that saw the vehicle collide with several police cruisers.

Police say three officers and the suspect were taken to hospital to be treated for injuries.

Ontario's police watchdog has opened an investigation into the incident.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2022.