Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie dies at 53

Gord Downie Dead At 53: Tragically Hip Lead Singer Suffered Terminal Brain Cancer

Downie announced last spring that he'd been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer but toured anyway following surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Gord Downie of Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip died at the age of 53 following a battle with brain cancer.

"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 band said.

Born in Kingston, Ontario, Downie loved playing hockey and became a lifelong fan of the Boston Bruins, which was strengthened by his godfather, Harry Sinden, serving as the team's coach and general manager.

"Last night Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by", his heartbroken family wrote in a statement. "But he gave the fans what they wanted to see and he seemed to give a great performance and so it took a lot of courage to go out there feeling I am sure the way he felt physically", said Sutton, who noted he is still moved by the Hip's 1998 hit Bobcaygeon.

But he loved music and songwriting even more.

Indigenous leaders are praising Gord Downie's contribution to reconciliation as they mourn his death. They have received numerous Canadian music awards, including 14 Juno awards, the equivalent of the Grammy in Canada.




The broadcast also includes backstage conversations and portions of the animated "Secret Path" film, which accompanied Downie's solo album.

Getting a bit choked up, Craig Smith called the passing of Downie "a big loss to Canada and the world".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at the edge of tears, read a statement after Downie's death, saying, "For nearly five decades, Gord Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada".

"Gord's command of language was profound", Trudeau said in his statement. He painted landscapes with his words, elevating Canadian geography, historical figures, and myths.

Downie formed The Tragically Hip in 1984 with high school classmates Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fray. In the end, though, the band's biggest USA moment came in 1995 when - after notching their third straight Canadian Number One album with Day For Night - they played Saturday Night Live.

As a tribute to Downie, London City Hall and other city facilities will be illuminated in red and white Wednesday night.

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