The president of the Toronto chapter of the notorious Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has died, according to online reports.
Donny Peterson, 74, was a longtime presence in the world of Big Smoke outlaw motorcycle clubs and had previously been a member of Para-Dice Riders, which patched over to the Angels in 1999.
The cause of death has not been revealed.
Peterson was born in Toronto and attended North Toronto Collegiate Institute and later studied Town Planning at York University, according to one online obituary.
John Michael Hangman Dykeman, a member of Bottles For Brothers, mourned on his Facebook page: “With Deepest Sorrow I have to inform the group that Donny Petersen has passed away today we here send our thoughts and prayers to Donny’s family and all the Downtown Toronto club and all the red and white chapters on the loss of such a great man. Thru his books and meeting him, he taught me a lot. He will be missed GBNF.”
After university, Peterson wrote books and operated Heavy Duty Cycles in the city’s east end. Peterson was a technical journalist for Harley-Davidson Twin Cam and Shovelhead motorcycles. He also won the International Book Awards in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The former president of the Para-Dice Riders, Peterson went by the name “Sleaze” for many years. He was part of a new breed of outlaw bikers who tried to clean up their act, insisting he didn’t smoke or drink.
According to Jerry Langton’s book, Fallen Angel , Peterson claimed he was once a social worker but didn’t name the organization. Peterson even helped set up a Harley riders group in Cuba — at the behest of the Canadian government.
“He used to be one of the most badass bikers in Ontario,” one former OPP officer told Langton. “He just remade himself and revised his personal history.”