The lead singer and songwriter for a rock band that has been putting out records since 1987 has died. The AP reports that Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip died Tuesday night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 53.
The band was especially popular in its native Canada, but broke through with a number of U.S. hits, including ‘New Orleans Is Sinking” in 1989, “Three Pistols” in 1991, “Courage” in 1993 and “Poets” in 1998.
“An emotional Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wept in Parliament while talking about Downie on national television in a statement to reporters,” the AP reports, quoting Trudeau saying: “We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it. We all knew it was coming but we hoped it wasn’t. I thought I was going to make it through this but I’m not. It hurts.”
The report notes that Trudeau’s voice broke as he made the statement to reporters.
Trudeau also said in a written statement: “Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada. He was the frontman of one of Canada’s most iconic bands, a rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country.”
The AP adds: “Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive and incurable brain cancer, in December 2015. When the band made the news public the following May, expressions of sorrow poured in from across the country.
“That same day, the band said it would mount a Canadian tour despite Downie’s cancer. Tickets for the 2016 summer tour sold out almost immediately, culminating in a national broadcast of the band’s final tour stop at Kingston, Ontario. Millions tuned in.”
Downie’s family released a statement on his website today, which you can see below …