- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gord Downie, a Canadian musician best known for fronting acclaimed rock group The Tragically Hip, died Tuesday evening following a fight with brain cancer. He was 53.

Downie was surrounded by his children and family members when he died, according to a statement shared through the singer’s Twitter account Wednesday morning.

“Gord knew this day was coming — his response was to spend this precious time as he always had — 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,” the statement said.

“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 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,” the statement said.

Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, was among the high-profile fans who paid their respects as news of Downie’s passing circulated online early Wednesday.

“There will never be another one like you, Gord. Rest in peace my friend,” Mr. Trudeau tweeted. “Canada’s identity & culture are richer for Gord Downie’s work.”

Gord Downie was an inspiration to us all. His music is an essential part of the soundtrack of Canada,” added John Tory, the mayor of Toronto.

The singer was born Gordon Edgar Downie in 1964 in Amherstview, Ontario, east of Toronto. He formed The Tragically Hip two decades later with lead guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay. Guitarist and backup vocalist Paul Langlois joined the group in 1986 replacing saxophonist Davis Manning, completing the line-up that ultimately became one of Canada’s best known modern rock groups.

The Hip released 14 studio albums beginning with their self-titled EP in 1987. Their second record and first-full length, 1989’s “Up to Here,” was certified gold the following year and earned the group the title of Most Promising Artist at the 1990 Juno Awards, an annual Canadian music awards ceremony. The group went on to receive a total of 16 Juno Awards during its decadeslong tenure and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Downie revealed in May 2016 that he was diagnosed six months earlier with terminal brain cancer. The Hip released its 14th studio album the following month, “Man Machine Poem.”

The band embarked on a cross-Canada tour that culminated with a performance in Kingston that August attended by Mr. Trudeau and broadcast live by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to an audience of approximately 11.7 million viewers.

The Hip took home two awards at the 2017 Juno Awards this past April: Group of the Year and Rock Album of the Year for “Man Machine Poem.”

A sign in front of Toronto City Hall bearing the city’s name will be dimmed Wednesday evening in memory of Downie, Mr. Tory tweeted.

“His diagnosis was heartbreaking but he faced illness with courage and a commitment to continue doing what he loved. He will be missed,” the mayor said on Twitter.

Downie is survived by his wife and four children.

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