Tragically Hip lead-singer Gord Downie has died at 53
“Looked up to the Lord above and said, hey man thanks” The Tragically Hip, New Orleans is Sinking
Gord Downie died Tuesday night surrounded by family and friends according to a statement by the family, on the band’s website. He’d fought a long battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer known as Glioblastoma.
“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,” a statement from the band website says.
News of Downie’s illness broke in May of last year. Soon after the band announced a final summer tour, in support of Downie that quickly sold out.
Downie spoke out on a variety of issues through his music, perhaps most notable his support and love for the care of our Indigenous people.
He released a media project called Secret Path, which tells the story of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who died in 1966 after running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ont. Wenjack died while attempting to walk 600 km back to his home. He died of exposure and hunger. Secret Path was Downie’s fifth solo album, which won a Juno Award.
The Kingston, Ontario band is considered one of Canada’s most notable bands. They’ve sold more than eight million albums, 16 Juno Awards, and countless other awards over their long career in music. Songs like “Blow at High Dough,” “New Orleans is Sinking,” “38 years old,” and “Fifty Mission Cap” are just a few of the hits that have gone down into musical history.
In June, all members of The Hip – Rob Baker, Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Davis Manning became recipients of the Order of Canada.
“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,” a statement from the Downie family reads.
The Hip’s thirteenth album, Man Machine Poem, was released on June 17, 2016.
With files from Susan Ponting