Award winning Canadian musician Gord Downie died October 17 in Toronto as a result of brain cancer at the age of 53. According to a statement issued by the family, Downie was surrounded by friends and family at the time if his death.
By Ryan Merkley – Gord Downie Hillside 2001 by Ryan Merkley CC BY, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49947958
A singer and songwriter, Downie was best known for being the frontman for the band The Tragically Hip – often referred to by fans as simply The Hip. He co-founded the band in 1984.
Diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2015, Downie and his Hip bandmates made one last trek across their native Canada with a tour that culminated in a nationally televised concert from Kingston, Ontario – a show that went on for nearly three hours.
A very emotional Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told members of Parliament, “we are less of a country without Gord Downie in it.”
The National Hockey League’s Players Association expressed their thanks to Downie saying that Downie’s music, “was the soundtrack of car rides to practices, bus trips to tournaments, and dressing rooms across Canada. Hockey was part of you and you will always be part of hockey.”
Downie and his music became more than just a soundtrack for their lives, it became in integral part of their lives…of people from all cultures of Canada. A friend and advocate of Canada’s First Nations, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde spoke on Downie saying, our hearts break on news of the passing of … an ally and friend.”
By his own admission, Downie shied away from politics, but he was an advocate of environmental and social issues.
Downie has won three Juno Awards for his solo project “Secret Path”, has 16 Juno Awards as a part of The Tragically Hip, were put on a Canadian postage stamp, is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and has been inducted as a member of The Order of Canada.
The Hip formed in 1984, but it would be another three years before the band would release their deubt EP and another eight years before American audiences would be introduced to the rockers when they appeared on an episode of “Saturday Night Live”.
Downie did not limit hiself to just music; he also dabble in acting, appearing in the video shorts “At the Quinte Hotel”, “The Memory of Joy”, “Snow on the Skeleton Key”, and “The Truth About Rainbows”; a cop in “Trailor Park Boys: The Movie”; a burglar in “Nothing Really Matters”; “One Week”; an uncredited role in “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys”; and “Sight Unseen”. As himself he appeared in documentaries, the TV movie “The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration”, videos, and the Juno Awards.
He was born Gordon Edgar Downie on February 6, 1964 in Amherstview, Ontario. Prior to forming The Hip, he played minor league hockey as a goalie where he was a part of the championship team in 1979.
He is survived by his wife and four children.
Gord Downie Discography:
“Coke Machine Glow”
“Battle of the Nudes”
“The Grand Bounce”
“Gord Downie, The Saides, and the Conquering Sun”
On October 27 Downie’s final solo project – “Introduce Yourself” – is set for release. The album contains 23 original songs. Each of the songs on the album was written about a specific person.
The Tragically Hip Discography:
“The Tragically Hip”
“Up to Here”
“Day for Night”
“Trouble at the Henhouse”
“Live Between Us”
“Music @ Work”
“In Violet Light”
“In Between Evolution”
“The Night in Toronto: Pierre & Francois Lamoureux”
“Live at Austin City Limits Music Festival 2006: the Tragically Hip”
“We Are the Same”
“Now for Plan A”
“Man Machine Poem”
“Complete Collection 1987-2016”
Sherrill is an award winning journalist and photographer. Her specialty is music, entertainment, and sports.To date she has had over 6,000 works published - including profiles, news pieces, reviews, and obituaries; both in print and online. She has covered 100's of concerts and conducted numerous interviews including members of One Republic, Clannad, Celtic Thunder, The Wiggles, the J. Geils Band, DoDriver, More Than Me, abd Thunderhand Joe and the Medicine Show.She has also co-authored a book on the history of a Rochester New York Congregation.She is also a photographer and artist whose photographs can be seen in some of her articles.Unless otherwise stated, the photos that appear in the articles belong to her.Sherrill makes her home in the western New York area.Sherrill contributes music and sports news for The Daily Voice News.Contact her at: [email protected]