OTTAWA -- The family of one victim in the investigation into suspicious deaths at the hospital in Hawkesbury, Ont., is describing him as a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Albert Poidinger, 89, of Pointe-Claire, Que. was pronounced dead at the hospital after police arrived at the hospital last Thursday evening. A doctor has been charged with first-degree murder, and police say they are investigating several suspicious deaths at the hospital.

In a statement Tuesday morning, Poidinger's family said the "devoted husband of 65 years, father, grandfather, father-in-law and beyond, was loved and we loved him."

"We cannot express the gravity of our sadness and only wish our privacy and time to grieve," the statement said. "We thank everyone for their condolences and offer our deepest condolences to the other families that have to endure these tragedies."

Poidinger was living in a retirement home in the Montreal suburb, staff there confirmed. They told CTV News Montreal that the OPP announcement on Monday came as a surprise, with at least some staff unaware he had died, let alone that his death was part of the murder investigation.

Dr. Brian Nadler, 35, of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, Que. has been charged with first-degree murder and is in custody. His next court appearance is April 6.

"Dr. Nadler maintains his innocence," his lawyer Alan Brass told CTV News Ottawa. Brass said the charges against Nadler will be rigorously defended.

OPP say their investigation into multiple suspicious deaths at the Hawkesbury General Hospital is in its early stages, but police claim they had strong evidence to lay first-degree murder charges against the 35-year-old Nadler. 

"Our investigators had the grounds to definitely lay the first-degree murder charge in one case, but there were signs that made us think we need to look further at other recent deaths at the hospital," Bill Dickson, Acting Manager of Media Relations for the OPP, said.

Dickson couldn’t provide a timeline or specify how many deaths they were investigating. He also did not specify how recent the deaths would be in order to be considered. 

Speaking to CTV News Ottawa on Monday, Dickson said the OPP remain the lead investigators, despite the victim and the accused calling Quebec home.

"We will reach out to any other police service as deemed necessary throughout the course of the investigation for any purposes," he said. "At this point in time, the investigation is focused on Hawkesbury and the hospital in Hawkesbury."

Dickson said autopsies have been scheduled to determine if there was any foul play involving the other suspicious deaths. 

"It's still an ongoing matter," he said. "Until we get those results back, we can't elaborate or even speculate on what may come from that."

Hawkesbury mayor Paula Assaly says the news has shaken the town.

"The citizens of Hawkesbury are very, very close to their hospital, so for them to hear sad news coming from the hospital it just adds on to the stress and the emotions," she told CTV News Ottawa. "It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind in the past few days and I, myself, have been doing what I’ve been telling others to do, [which] is to stay calm."

Resident Bruce Golden says it's all anyone is talking about.

“There’s been a lot of talk, [the] phone’s been ringing at home and we’re all chatting about it, about what’s gone on at the hospital," he said. "We have no clue what’s going on but it is a big thing, and deal in town." 

The Hawkesbury hospital's website lists Nadler as a hospitalist, a physician who practices in a hospital and cares for a variety of patients.

He graduated from McGill University in 2010, according to the website of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, the regulatory body for doctors in the province. Nadler acquired an internal medicine specialty in September 2019, and became an active member of the college in February 2020, the Ontario college's website says.

Hawkesbury is about 110 kilometres east of Ottawa, near the border with Quebec.