(CTV,Oct 18,2017): After living with a form of terminal brain cancer for more than a year, Gord Downie, the legendary front man of the Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip, has died at the age of 53.
In a statement posted online, the band confirmed that Downie died “with his beloved children and family close by” on Tuesday night.
The beloved Canadian musician was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, in December 2015. He leaves behind four children.
“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 said.
As news of Downie’s death spread Wednesday morning, condolences flooded in across social media from musicians, fans, and politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said in a statement that “Gord did not rest from working for the issues he cared about, and his commitment and passion will continue to motivate Canadians for years to come.”
He also took a moment to express his gratitude towards his friend to reporters gathered in Ottawa.
“We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it,” a tearful Trudeau told reporters on Parliament Hill. “We all knew it was coming but we hoped it wasn’t. I thought I was going to make it through this, but I’m not. It hurts.”
More than 3 decades of music
Known for his energetic live performances and poetic lyrics, Downie has been a fixture on the Canadian music scene since “the Hip,” as his band is lovingly called by their fans, formed while they were in high school in 1984 in Kingston, Ont. Downie, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair, drummer Johnny Fay and guitarist Paul Langlois released their first self-titled EP three years later in 1987.
For more than 30 years, the singer-songwriter wrote countless hits such as, “Bobcaygeon,” “Ahead By a Century,” “Courage,” and “New Orleans is Sinking.”
With more than a dozen Tragically Hip studio albums, and several other solo projects, including five studio albums, Downie was considered one of the Canada’s most revered singer-songwriters.
In 2005, the Hip was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Juno Awards Show in Winnipeg, cementing the band’s place in this country’s music history.
Although they never reached the same level of fame in the U.S. or elsewhere, the musicians were repeatedly honoured at home with 16 Juno Awards, a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame and a dedicated postage stamp with their image on it.