Gord Downie, frontman for The Tragically Hip, dies at 53
By: Tyson Lautenschlager
Gord Downie, the frontman for legendary Canadian band The Tragically Hip, has died at 53, the CBC is reporting.
In a statement posted on the band’s website, The Tragically Hip confirmed Downie died on Tuesday night “with his beloved children and family close by.”
Downie was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer in May of 2016.
Downie, a Canadian rock legend for the ages, was born in Kingston of Feb. 6, 1964. It was in Kingston that he met his bandmates Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Davis Manning, and Gord Sinclair and formed the band in 1983. In 1986, guitarist Paul Langlois joined the band after Manning, a saxophonist, left.
Some of the Hip’s most popular songs included New Orleans Is Sinking, Bobcaygeon and Wheat Kings. Most recently, the Hip released its 13th studio album Man Machine Poem in 2016 before going on their final 15-stop tour. The Tragically Hip played their last concert in August of 2016 in Kingston.
Expressing their sadness for the loss of a superstar, several Canadian celebrities took to Twitter to talk about Downie.
Heartbroken today. Few Canadians touched this country like Gord Downie. Thank you for everything you gave us. My deepest condolences. pic.twitter.com/00DdU6IVZn
— Doug Gilmour (@DougGilmour93) October 18, 2017
Canada's identity & culture are richer for Gord Downie's work.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 18, 2017
Gord Downie was an inspiration to us all. His music is an essential part of the soundtrack of Canada. His diagnosis was heartbreaking but he faced illness with courage and a commitment to continue doing what he loved. He will be missed.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) October 18, 2017
Oh no. No words. RIP Gord Downie you beautiful human. https://t.co/2sYLdFWz1o
— Tom Power (@tompowercbc) October 18, 2017
— Tara Spencer-Nairn (@TSpencerNairn) October 18, 2017
Imagine a giant huge enough to crush stadiums, to reach across a nation, big enough to love everyone.
We didn’t have to imagine.
— Brent Butt (@BrentButt) October 18, 2017
We will never again agree on anything as we agreed on The Tragically Hip.
Thank you, Gord Downie. pic.twitter.com/mmUPQlUHWU
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) October 18, 2017
no. no. no. no.
stars want to thank gord and send him our hearts as he passes into another world. we loved him. there won't be another gord https://t.co/oPXDhDPkWU
— Stars (@youarestars) October 18, 2017
— Rick Mercer (@rickmercer) October 18, 2017
One of Downie’s last ventures was to raise awareness for Indigenous peoples. Downie released a project called Secret Path in October 2016. The multimedia project talks about Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died of exposure and hunger in 1966 after escaping from a residential school in Northern Ontario. Meanwhile, the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund was started to “start a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”
Downie’s final solo album, Introduce Yerself, is set to release on October 27.
R.I.P. Gord Downie.