Music News

Gord Downie Dead at 53

Gord Downie passed away last night after battling brain cancer.


October 18, 2017

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.

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.

Love you forever Gord.

The Downie Family

The whole country plunged into mourning. Even the prime minister couldn’t hold it together.

Here’s an obituary from sister site, Geeks and Beats.

Gord Downie, leading singer of The Tragically Hip and probably the best loved man in Canada, left us today.

Downie and his brothers in arms — Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay and Paul Langlois —announced his diagnosis of glioblastoma in May 2016. At that point, Downie had undergone treatment and surgery to combat the aggressive, unmerciful and incurable brain tumor.

The band announced two things that day: Downie’s illness and a small, 15-date Canada-only tour in conjunction with its latest album, “Man Machine Poem,” to kick off in Victoria a few weeks later. The album itself was released in June.

By now, most of us know well the story of the Tragically Hip: Founded in Kingston, Ontario, in 1984, while Baker and Sinclair were students at Kingston College. Downie and Fay joined later, and the groups’ longstanding lineup was complete with the addition of Fay in 1986, the same year one-time saxophonist Davis Manning left. The band released 14 studio albums, two live albums, an EP, 54 singles; they won 16 Juno Awards and have been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and were presented with honourary fellowships from the Royal Conservatory of Music. They were named the Group of the Year at the 2017 Junos.

“No dress rehearsal — This is OUR life”

The Tragically Hip opened the K-ROCK Centre in Kingston in February 2008; it was more than fitting that the K-ROCK Centre and nearby Spring Market Square hosted their final concert together. It was a concert that lasted nearly three hours, divided into three segments – as had all other dates on the Man Machine Poem tour—and started with the band huddled together on the stage. While they eventually took their “regular” places across the floor, the view of the five of them, standing close together with Downie in the middle, was beautiful: it’s as if the first portion of each evening’s performance was for them, they just let the rest of us listen in.

The CBC’s broadcast of the Kingston show, preempting one of the last days of the 2016 Summer Olympics, was available online and on the radio, was enjoyed by some 11.7 million people in Canada alone, a number that doesn’t include the dozens, if not hundreds, of viewing parties around the world.

Other than the dazzling suits and those glorious hats, the only indication that anything was different about this particular tour was invisible to most of the audience from the sold-out arenas across Canada: The monitors scattered around the stage to help Downie remember the words of the songs we all know by heart.

Continue reading.

Further coverage:

Toronto Star

Toronto Sun



New York Times

Gord sketch done this morning by Anthony Fenech

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37412 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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