I wouldn't say we were close friends (we didn't have drinks every fridays and such) but we always had friendly meetings and I certainly thought of him as a friend. We kept meeting at every events involving animation in and around Montreal. He was very active in the animation world, had created FPS, an animation based magazine, and so much more...I can't even name, at the top of my head, everything he has achieved.
When he was diagnosed with leukemia, he didn't just quietly lay down in the shadows to fade away. With the help of his friend and family, he started a website that helped bring awareness of bone marrow donation. A website that has helped many many other people's lives.
Emru had found a donor. Unfortunately, his leukemia proved to be of a very nasty sort that wouldn't let go.
If you've met Emru, online or in person (and if you've been interested in animation or siggraph, you may very well have crossed his path), he was one of the brightest, most enthusiastic, generous, fun person to have around you.
He will be missed. many other people around are leaving much better, well thought out tribute than I ever could. But I had to at least add my voice to them.
Heartfelt sympathies, and much love to the Townsend family (especially to Tamu).