Former Toronto police chief Bill McCormack has died at the age of 83.

McCormack spent several years as a homicide detective in Toronto before being appointed chief of Metro Toronto Police in 1989. He served as chief until 1995 when he retired.

Though known commonly as a long-time Scarborough resident, McCormack was born in Beau-Bassin – a town on the island nation of the Republic of Mauritius – where he lived 18 years before moving to Dublin, Ireland, and later Canada.

“His legacy will live on through the strength of our city and through the work of his children who continue - many of them - with the service today,” Police Services Board chair Andy Pringle said.

In 2005, McCormack wrote a book called ‘Life on Homicide: A Police Detective’s Memoir’ which chronicled his experiences as a detective.

Current Chief Mark Saunders said that in his own early years as a constable, homicide investigators like McCormack were looked upon as “rock stars.”

“If you get a chance to look at the old archive pictures of the homicide investigators back then, you see what kind of legacy it would take just to be homicide investigator,” Saunders said.

Saunders said McCormack set up the ceremonial unit, which represents the service at events across the world. He also helped set up the Toronto Police Museum at the College Street headquarters.

“He was the first chief that I remember who actually went out to the communities and walked around in them,” Saunders said.

He also recalled a time when McCormack attended a Toronto Police Association meeting during a period when the police union was involved in a dispute with management.

“He sat down and spoke with us, which was something that was rare, and he basically said ‘look, you worry about police work and I’ll deal with all that other stuff but just keep the city safe'."

He is survived by his five children, four of whom became police officers themselves. One of his sons, Mike McCormack, is currently acting head of the Toronto Police Association.

Saunders said he reached out to Mike and offered condolences to him and the rest of his family.

A book of condolence will be set up at police headquarters for officers and members of the public to express their sympathies.

In a written statement, Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was "very saddened" to hear of McCormack's passing.

"He will be remembered for his dedication to serving and protecting residents of Toronto. Former chief McCormack also served the police force for many years before he became chief. My thoughts are with his son Mike and the entire family."

Visitation for McCormack will be held at Jerrett Funeral Home in Thornhill on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

His funeral will take place on Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Basilica in Toronto.

More to come...