Written by: Matt Sloan
Gord Downie, the enigmatic frontman of the legendary Canadian outfit The Tragically Hip has died.
Downie, who had been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma, was 53.
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. 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.
We would like to thank all the kind folks at KGH and Sunnybrook, Gord’s bandmates, management team, friends and fans. Thank you for all the help and support over the past two years.
Thank you everyone for all the respect, admiration and love you have given Gord throughout the years – those tender offerings touched his heart and he takes them with him now as he walks among the stars.
Love you forever Gord.
The Downie Family
With close to 15 studio albums under their belts, over the course of their career The Tragically Hip won 16 Juno Awards, got elected to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, were inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and were awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.
Formed in Kingston, Ontario back in 1984, The Hip were Downie, Gord Sinclair, Rob Baker, Johnny Fay and Paul Langlois.
Their last record was 2016’s Man Machine Poem, which also found the band making a valedictory tour across Canada to support it. Though Downie was ailing, he completed the tour with gusto, flair and nerve, the band’s last show in Kingston was not only televised, it remains one of the most-watched events in Canadian history.
“The fact is,” SEM’s Alex Green said in a statement, “Gord Downie was one of the greatest frontmen of all time. He was wildly charismatic, mysterious, poetic and idiosyncratic–quite simply, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. He was not only a true original, he was as great as they come. If not better.”
Downie remained active in spite of his illness, releasing Secret Path, a concept record about Chanie Wenjack, a First Nations boy who died after attempting to make his way home following an escape from a Canadian Indian Residential school.
The Tragically Hip are recipients of the Order of Canada.