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N.S. “pumpkin king” Howard Dill, 73

Howard Dill, an Annapolis Valley pumpkin breeder known worldwide for his giant pumpkins, died Tuesday of cancer at age 73, according to reports from Nova Scotia media.

Dill, a self-taught plant breeder, earned business from competitive giant pumpkin growers and ordinary gardeners from as far away as Thailand and Turkey, CBC said Wednesday.

According to the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Dill earned his “pumpkin king” reputation starting at the International Pumpkin Association weigh-off in 1979 with one of his early creations, which earned top prize that year at 199 kilograms.

He was best known for his Atlantic Giant variety, which is often used in the local pumpkin regatta, an annual event in which competitors row across a lake in hollowed-out gourds.

Dill was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer last fall and admitted to hospital shortly after Christmas, the Chronicle Herald reported.

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