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GORD DOWNIE,
1964-2017

Gord Downie, lead singer and lyricist for Canadian superstars The Tragically Hip, died Tuesday at the age of 53.

Downie suffered from glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer that was diagnosed after a seizure in December 2015.

"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 wrote in a statement on their website.

In July 2016, The Tragically Hip embarked on a final eight-city tour that wrapped 8/20/16 in their hometown of Kingston, Ont., that was broadcast by CBC across Canada commercial free. Nearly 12m people tuned in.

The Tragically Hip, which formed in 1983 at Queen's University, won more Juno Awards than any other band, 16, and received the Order of Canada, a Governor General's Performing Arts Award, an honorary fellowship with the Royal Conservatory of Music and induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

The group signed with MCA and released a debut EP in 1987; the four albums they released between 1989 and 1994 turned them into Canada’s most successful band of the era. In 1995, they performed on Saturday Night Live yet never established themselves south of the border or in Europe.

Downie also released four solo albums, winning two Junos for the multimedia project Secret Path. His final album, Introduce Yerself, is scheduled for released 10/27 on Arts & Crafts.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement that read, in part: “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.”

A tribute in The New York Times said of Downie: "The place of honor that Mr. Downie occupies in Canada’s national imagination has no parallel in the United States. Imagine Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Michael Stipe combined into one sensitive, oblique poet-philosopher, and you’re getting close."

 

 

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