It was in Mexico while finishing up Wagons East! that Candy was felled by a heart attack. Not only was Candy a large man, but he also had a family history of heart problems. He is sorely missed.
Candy's IMDb biography confirms what I'd always heard about him: that he was one of the genuinely good guys in Hollywood. He was easy to work with and never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was a proud Canadian and a major investor in the Canadian Football League's Toronto franchise, the Argonauts. The IMDb claims, although I'd never heard this before, that Candy declined roles in Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, because he felt his friend Rick Moranis was a much better fit. He was survived by a wife and two children including a daughter, Jennifer, who has started her own Hollywood career.
But the thing I will miss most about John Candy was the sense of charm and humanity that he brought to his roles. I point this out especially because this sort of comedy is fast disappearing from Hollywood. Candy had that rare ability to be charming — there's really no other word for it — and to give you a real, lasting smile after the movie was over. You felt a genuine, human connection to him which, combined with his comic talents, is what made him so much fun to watch.
Hollywood could use more actors like him, in many ways. Family films now seem to be cast out of the Shrek/Pixar/ Dreamworks mold, which makes great use of visual style and humor, but generally come off as pre-packaged merchandise advertisements, with little charm. What heart you do find in these films tends to be (in my opinion) generic Hollywood themes, written according to formula.
Mainstream comedies, on the other hand, have embraced the Apatow-ish, post-Napoleon Dynamite style of intentionally understated humor to the exclusion of all else. That's not to say that this style hasn't produced some funny films (it has), but with so many films being produced in the exact same style, with interchangeable actors and screenwriters, I find myself looking for a break, for something genuinely funny without the ironic or doubly-ironic cynical twist on the humor.