Home National Gord Downie, Singer Of The Tragically Hip, Dies At 53

Gord Downie, Singer Of The Tragically Hip, Dies At 53

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Gord Downie, frontman of Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip, has died after a battle with brain cancer.

A message on Twitter attributed to the Downie family announced that the musician had “passed away with his beloved children and family close by”. The statement went on to say that “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”. Downie revealed that he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in May 2016.

The Tragically Hip were founded in Kingston, Ontario, in 1984 and enjoyed huge success in Canada, including nine No 1 albums. In 2012, the city of Kingston renamed a street after the band. In 2013, the Tragically Hip were featured on Canadian postage stamps.

Following Downie’s diagnosis, the Tragically Hip staged a tour to support their 13th album, Man Machine Poem. The tour’s final concert was attended by the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and broadcast live on Canadian TV network CBC, attracting a viewership of 11.7m.

Trudeau released a statement following Downie’s death, saying “For almost five decades, Gord Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada. He was the frontman of one of Canada’s most iconic bands, a rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country. The Tragically Hip’s music invited us to explore places we had never been – from Mistaken Point to Churchill – and helped us understand each other, while capturing the complexity and vastness of the place we call home.” He also gave a tearful public address about his “buddy Gord”.

In recent years, Downie, who has been called “Canada’s unofficial poet laureate”, had worked to support the indigenous people of Canada with the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. Wenjack was a First Nations boy who died in 1966 while attempting to escape from a residential school designed to assimilate Aboriginal Canadians.

His final project, a solo album entitled Introduce Yerself, is due for release on 27 October.

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