Tragically Hip Vocalist Gord Downie Dies From Brain Cancer at 53
Fans of the Tragically Hip knew this day was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Gord Downie, vocalist of the iconic Canadian rock outfit, passed away Tuesday night (Oct. 17) at the age of 53.
Downie’s was diagnosed with brain cancer in December of 2015 and revealed his diagnosis to the public in May of the following year. As a nod to all that the fans had given him over the years, the group embarked on one final major tour and their final show in August 2016 proved to be one of the biggest events in Canada of the year. The singer, ever the showman, captivated the crowd through each and every song performed at the band’s finale. And while he was an engaging performer onstage, it was his often poetic lyrics and knack for storytelling that won over many fans.
During his final years, the Tragically Hip added to their extensive catalog with the Man Machine Poem album, while Downie continued to work on a solo project, Secret Path, that was issued in 2016, and he will follow with a double LP called Introduce Yerself that’s expected to arrive on Oct. 27. Downie worked on the epic collection in January 2016 and returned to finish it up in February 2017.
The singer’s family issued a statement that reads as follows:
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 last 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.
— The Tragically Hip (@thehipdotcom) October 18, 2017
The Tragically Hip formed with Gord Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay in 1984 in Kingston, Ontario. All four of Downie’s bandmates remained throughout the years, as the band issued 13 studio releases. Their biggest album, 1994’s Day for Night, was certified six times platinum in Canada. As far as singles, “Ahead by a Century” and “In View” were both chart-toppers in Canada, while tracks like “Courage,” “Greasy Jungle,” “Gift Shop,” “Poets,” “Fireworks” “Bobcaygeon” and “At the Hundredth Meridian” also fared well and were among the fan favorites.
The band received 16 Juno Awards, were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and were appointed to the Order of Canada earlier this year.
Our condolences to the Downie family, his bandmates and the extended Tragically Hip community.
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