|Ben Kerr. (Photo: Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun.)
He was the ageless crooner who spiced up the corner of Yonge and Bloor Sts. with his smooth country singing.
He was the source of amused smiles from busy commuters who slowed their pace to read his sweatshirt slogans, such as "Better than Viagra."
But Ben Kerr, better known as the King of Cayenne and for his runs for the mayor's office, died Friday, leaving a void on the corner he's laid claim to for dozens of years.
Peter Franke lived with Kerr for 25 years at their Jones Ave. home -- the House of Cayenne. He found Kerr's body in the basement, where he'd been living for a few months.
Kerr, who Franke said was in his 70s, had been retaining water in his limbs and moved to the basement because he couldn't climb stairs. He refused to go the hospital. Instead he did what he's always done: Drink his famous cayenne pepper cocktail.
The carrot juice, peppered with herbs and a healthy sprinkling of cayenne pepper, was Kerr's famous cure-all -- he claimed it also added heat in the bedroom. He chronicles the cocktail and his life in The Cayenne Pepper Cocktail Does it All.
In his former life, Kerr did accounting and managerial work, and was also an executive at the Toronto Harbour Commission.