Even though The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie announced in May of last year that he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, it doesn’t make it any easier to announce that the 53 year old singer passed away last night.
The news was broke this morning when the band made a statement on their website stating that Downie had passed away with “with his beloved children and family close by.”
After the singer had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer, the band announced that they would be going on one last cross-Canada tour, with the final show airing live on CBC from their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Afterwards Downie spent the remainder of his life raising funds for brain cancer research, as well as fighting for the rights of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.
The Tragically Hip has been known as Canada’s favourite rock band ever since the 1990s, when they released songs such as Ahead By A Century, New Orleans Is Sinking and Courage (For Hugh MacLennan). The complete text of the statement on the Hip’s website can be read below.
Last night Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by.
Gord knew this day was coming – his response was to spend this precious time as he always had – making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss… on the lips.
Gord said he had lived many lives. As a musician, he lived “the life” for over 30 years, lucky to do most of it with his high school buddies. At home, he worked just as tirelessly at being a good father, son, brother, husband and friend. No one worked harder on every part of their life than Gord. No one.
We would like to thank all the kind folks at KGH and Sunnybrook, Gord’s bandmates, management team, friends and fans. Thank you for all the help and support over the past two years.
Thank you everyone for all the respect, admiration and love you have given Gord throughout the years – those tender offerings touched his heart and he takes them with him now as he walks among the stars.
Love you forever Gord.
The Downie Family
Photo: Moyia Misner-Pellow on Wikipedia