Justin Trudeau Leads Tributes to Tragically Hip Singer Gord Downie Who Died of Brain Cancer

The 53-year-old musician was beloved in his country.

Gord Downie, the 53-year-old frontman of legendary Canadian band The Tragically Hip, has died after battling brain cancer.

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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.

Statement - https://t.co/vOTvlJ2jqA pic.twitter.com/Z6dHmr1xpM

— The Tragically Hip (@thehipdotcom) October 18, 2017

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.

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Trudeau led tributes to Downie Wednesday morning after news of his death broke on Twitter.

There will never be another one like you, Gord. Rest in peace my friend.

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 18, 2017

Canada's identity & culture are richer for Gord Downie's work.

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 18, 2017

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.

“We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it," said a visibly emotional @JustinTrudeau today https://t.co/Tuxg7KJiyU pic.twitter.com/b1zz467H5d

— CBC Politics (@CBCPolitics) October 18, 2017

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.”

Thank you for all of it, Gord. Such an inspiring life and career. RIP. @thehipdotcom

— Craig Finn (@steadycraig) October 18, 2017

The city of Toronto will dim their famous “Toronto” sign at 11 p.m. Wednesday night to honor Downie's memory.

Toronto Sign shines red & white today and will be dimmed at 11 pm in memory of Canadian icon Gord Downie #TheTragicallyHip pic.twitter.com/MPHIQYlGgW

— City of Toronto (@TorontoComms) October 18, 2017

Toronto Mayor John Tory called Downie “an inspiration to us all” on Twitter.

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

On behalf of the people of Toronto, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Gord Downie’s family, his Tragically Hip bandmates and his millions of fans.

— John Tory (@JohnTory) October 18, 2017

I've asked that the Toronto sign be lit in red & white today to honour Gord Downie. The sign will be dimmed tonight at 11 p.m. to mourn this great Canadian. #TragicallyHip

— John Tory (@JohnTory) October 18, 2017

The Toronto Raptors NBA team called Downie a “Canadian Icon.”

A Canadian Icon.

Rest in peace, Gord. pic.twitter.com/cLHgyhhSr7

— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 18, 2017

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. 

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