gord downie

Toronto mourns the passing of Gord Downie

Gord Downie, the much-loved frontman for the Tragically Hip, has died at the age of 53. A statement from Downie's family posted to the band's Twitter feed confirms that the singer passed away on Tuesday night with his children and family nearby. 

Downie announced that he had an incurable form of brain cancer in May 2016 after which the Tragically Hip embarked on one last tour, which culminated with a final show in the band's hometown of Kingston that was broadcast across the country.

Amongst the many things that the singer, poet, and musician will be remembered for is his contribution to the Canada's mythology, from lyrics about Bill Barilko to the sprawling landscape of the prairies to Bobcaygeon, the cottage area northeast of Toronto.

The Hip will always be a Kingston band, but this city had certainly adopted  Downie and his bandmates long ago. The outpouring of emotion immediately following his death has already been profound.

Along with his musical and literary work, Downie was also engaged in advocacy for issues he was passionate about. His work to support Canada's indigenous communities was a particular focus in the final stage of his life.

Downie's last solo album Introduce Yerself, recorded in the final months of his life, will be released on October 27 by Arts & Crafts. 

He will be remembered for a lifetime of music and his deep exploration of what it means to be Canadian. 

Lead photo by

David Bastedo / The Tragically Hip


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