Gord Downie Dies; Tragically Hip Singer Was 53
Gord Downie, singer of the beloved Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, has passed away at the age of 53.
News of his death came today via a moving statement penned by his family:
“Last night, Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by,” reads the statement issued this morning.
“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,” they added.
“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.”
Downie had been battling brain cancer since 2015, but did not make his terminal diagnosis public until May of 2016.
That same summer, the Hip released their final studio album with Downie, Man Poem Machine, and embarked on a nationwide Canadian tour.
The string of concerts culminated with an emotional hometown performance at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a lifelong Hip fan, attended the farewell show, tweeting:
“Dear world, Please be advised that Canada will be closed tonight at 8:30 p.m. Have a #TragicallyHip day.”
Trudeau tweeted again today, paying moving tribute to his nation’s unofficial poet laureate:
“There will never be another one like you, Gord. Rest in peace my friend,” Trudeau wrote.
“Canada’s identity & culture are richer for Gord Downie’s work,” he wrote.
Downie and his band’s importance to Canadian culture cannot be overstated.
In 2013, the band was featured on a set of postage stamps and in July of this year, they received the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Downie is survived by his wife, Laura Leigh Usher, and four children.