The popular lead singer and writer of iconic rock band The Tragically Hip Gord Downie has died at the age of 53, after losing the battle to brain cancer.
A statement from the band’s website declared that Downie died Tuesday night “with his beloved children and family close by.” The statement did not specify the cause of death, although the famous singer who has become identified with Canada’s national identity, has earlier been diagnosed with brain cancer.
Since its first album three decades ago in 1987, Downie’s The Tragically Hip band has provided a soundtrack many Canadians could easily identify with and claim as their “own.” Among the best known are “Ahead by a Century” and “Bobcaygeon.”
Canada has of course produced musical artists and performers that became known globally like Drake, the Weeknd and Justin Bieber, the Tragically Hip built such a phenomenal, strong die-hard homegrown fans.
Even Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became emotional and openly wept in Parliament while talking about Downie on national television.
Trudeau said in a statement to media: “We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it. We all knew it was coming but hoped it wasn’t.” Trudeau’s voice then broke as he continued: “I thought I was going to make it through this but I’m not. It hurts.”
Another written statement of the Prime Minister hailed Downie for uncovering and telling the stories of Canada. Downie was alos described as a front man of one if Canada’s most iconic bands, a rock star, artist and poet whose “evocative lyrics came to define a country.”
Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive and incurable brain cancer in December 2015. The following May, the band made a public announcement of Downie’s condition. Sympathies and expressions of sorrows soon poured in from all over Canada.
The Downie family also released a statement and said: “Gord knew this day was coming- his response was to spend his 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.”