Justin Trudeau Leads Tributes to Tragically Hip Singer Gord Downie Who Died of Brain Cancer
Gord Downie, the 53-year-old frontman of legendary Canadian band The Tragically Hip, has died after battling brain cancer.
The band released a statement Wednesday morning saying that Downie was with his “beloved children and family close by” as he passed.
“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,” the statement continued.
Downie was set to release his final album as a solo artist titled Introduce Yourself, which was to be available on October 27. The record, produced by fellow Canadian, Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew, will feature 23 songs that are all about special people in Downie's life and were all recorded in one take.
The “Music at Work” singer was revealed to have brain cancer last year and despite the grim diagnosis, his band continued to tour and he released the critically acclaimed solo album, Secret Path.
The band performed their final concert in August 2016, when they were introduced to the stage by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau led tributes to Downie Wednesday morning after news of his death broke on Twitter.
Trudeau later held a press conference in which he said “we are less as a country without Gord Downie in it,” as tears streamed down his face.
Craig Finn, frontman of Brooklyn rock band The Hold Steady, also paid tribute to Downie on Twitter, saying he had “such an inspiring life and career.”
The city of Toronto will dim their famous “Toronto” sign at 11 p.m. Wednesday night to honor Downie's memory.
Toronto Mayor John Tory called Downie “an inspiration to us all” on Twitter.
The Toronto Raptors NBA team called Downie a “Canadian Icon.”
Downie had been appointed to the Order of Canada in June of 2017 for his advocacy for First Nations, the name for Canada's aboriginal people.
During his 33-year-long career, Downie won 16 Juno Awards, Canada's equivalent to the Grammy, with The Tragically Hip. In 2005, they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife, Laura Leigh Usher, and their four children.