Updated: Oct. 18, 4pm: Gord Downie, front man of The Tragically Hip, has died at the age of 53. The band posted a statement online on Wednesday morning, noting that he passed away on Tuesday night (Oct. 17), “with his beloved children and family close by.”
“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.
Downie was diagnosed with a terminal form of brain cancer in May, 2016.
Here is the official statement from PM Justin Trudeau on the death of Gord Downie
“For almost five decades, Gord Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada. He was the frontman of one of Canada’s most iconic bands, a rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country.
“The Tragically Hip’s music invited us to explore places we had never been – from Mistaken Point to Churchill – and helped us understand each other, while capturing the complexity and vastness of the place we call home.
“Gord’s command of language was profound. He painted landscapes with his words, elevating Canadian geography, historical figures, and myths. When he spoke, he gave us goosebumps and made us proud to be Canadian. Our identity and culture are richer because of his music, which was always raw and honest – like Gord himself.
“In the wake of his diagnosis, Gord only fought harder for what he believed in: social justice, environmentalism, and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Before passing, he shined his light on the story of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack who died from hunger and exposure after trying to find his way home from a residential school. For his work raising awareness of Indigenous issues, he was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada in 2017.
“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.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to Gord’s family, friends, bandmates and crew members, and his many, many fans. He will be sorely missed.”
Gordon Lightfoot issued this official statement: "I'm truly saddened by the news of Gord Downie's passing. Canada has lost one of its bright stars. He will be missed but not forgotten. I am thinking of his family today and send them my deepest condolences."
Here are some other tributes:
"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) Mayor of Toronto
"Heartbroken today. Few Canadians touched this country like Gord Downie. Thank you for everything you gave us. My deepest condolences." — Doug Gilmour (@DougGilmour93
"CARAS, along with all Canadians, mourns the loss of the incredible Gord Downie." — @TheJUNOAwards