Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie dead at 53
Gord Downie, the poetic lead singer of the Tragically Hip whose determined fight with brain cancer inspired a nation, has died. He was 53.
Downie died Tuesday night "with his beloved children and family close by," the band said in a statement on its website Wednesday morning. The website went black to honor Downie.
In the wake of his diagnosis with glioblastoma - an incurable form of cancer - the musician became a symbol of perseverance in the face of his mortality.
"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 spent the last chapter of his life raising funds for brain cancer research and advocating for the rights of Canada's Indigenous Peoples.
"Gord said he had lived many lives," the band said. "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."
One of the country's most revered singer-songwriters, Downie penned a steady stream of 1990s rock radio staples including "New Orleans Is Sinking," "Blow at High Dough," "Courage," "Ahead By a Century" and "Bobcaygeon."
The country was shocked when Downie revealed his terminal cancer diagnosis in May 2016. The band's subsequent tour sold out nearly immediately.