Tortorella's assistant Mike Sullivan was also relieved of his duties.
"Today we are making an important change in the direction of our team," new Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden said. "On behalf of the entire organization, we extend our thanks to John, Mike and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and wish them the very best."
"We have a lot of important work to accomplish this off-season as we build our management and coaching staff, improve our roster and connect with our fans," added Linden. "Our General Manager search is well underway and we will begin assessing head coaching candidates immediately."
The Canucks missed the playoffs after going 36-35-11 this season, finishing fifth in the Pacific Division. Tortorella was also suspended for 15 days earlier in the season when he charged the Calgary Flames locker room during a game.
MUIR: Top Line: Sharks reach new depths; cold comfort for Avs; more links Tortorella, who was the NHL coach of the year in 2004, won a Stanley Cup that same season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He coached the New York Rangers for five seasons before joining the Canucks.