Gord Downie, the lead singer of Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip, died last night after years of living with brain cancer. “Gord knew this day was coming,” his family said in a statement. “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.” Downie, 53, was diagnosed with the disease in December 2015, and made his diagnosis public in May 2016, after which the Tragically Hip released a new album and launched a tour that concluded with an emotional farewell concert that August. Downie and the band released 14 studio albums over the course of their careers and won 16 Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy. Downie’s death was mourned across the country; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a longtime fan, was moved to tears when discussing Downie.
Gord Downie. Photo: Andrew Chin/Getty Images