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The inventor of the Hawaiian pizza has died

And you may be surprised to learn he was a Greek-Canadian.

The man who invented probably the world’s most controversial pizza has died.

Sam Panopoulos, who has died at the age of 83, is credited as the man who brought the Hawaiian pizza to the world, complete with its most divisive topping – pineapple.

Panopoulos moved from Greece to Canada in 1954 and opened a number of restaurants, and he subsequently invented the pineapple pizza to put on his menus.

Panopoulos told CBC earlier this year he put pizza on the menu because nobody in the country was serving it yet.

He said: “Along the way, we threw some pineapples on it and nobody liked it at first. But after that, they went crazy about it. Because those days nobody was mixing sweets and sours and all that. It was plain, plain food.

“Anyway, after that it stays.”

Fans of the Hawaiian pizza celebrated its inventor after news of his death spread.

But not everyone loves the Hawaiian – the distinctive pizza hit the headlines earlier this year when Iceland’s president Guoni Johannesson said he thought it should be banned.

That led to passionate debate online.

Panopoulos reacted by telling CBC: “I don’t know the guy. He should know better. I’m sure he is a lot younger than I am and I was doing pizza when I was a young guy, you know what I mean?”

Panopoulos died suddenly in hospital with his family by his side, according to a short obituary posted online.

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