We knew that one day this was coming, but somehow I was completely unprepared to learn this morning that Gord Downie, front man of The Tragically Hip, has succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 53. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer, in 2015, and according to a statement by The Tragically Hip he passed away last night (10.17.17) "with his beloved children and family close by."
The Tragically hip are considered by most to be THE biggest and most popular contemporary band in Canada....universally beloved...and though they never achieved that sort of popularity here in the states, those of us who do know about the band are in on one of the best musical secrets of our lifetimes.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared the below message this morning.
As a Detroit (Michigan) native, I grew up with Canada as my "neighbor," and have had the pleasure of seeing the band and Gord Downie's legendary performances a number of times....both as part of The Tragically Hip and on tours for his solo albums. I'm sad to know that I won't have another chance to do that. I'm short on words, and there's so much more to say about the mark he left on this world....but for now I'll close with what I think a lot of fans will be saying today... you were most certainly ahead by a century, Mr. Downie. Thank you for the immeasurable amount of joy you brought us through your music.
If you're new to The Hip, I encourage you to spend some time exploring their music - here's a great place to start, with Rolling Stone's Ten Essential Songs