It couldn’t come at a worse time.
This morning Canadians woke up to the worst kind of news. The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has been undergoing treatment for terminal brain cancer after being diagnosed with the disease this past December. When the news broke fans flocked to social media in the thousands to express their sadness for the 52 year old Downie.
The Tragically Hip are a staple of Canadian culture and one of our greatest exports. You would be hard pressed to find any proud Canadian that doesn’t know at least one song and would gladly sing it for you at the top of their lungs. They’re a part of who we are, and they always will be. Very few musicians have been able to become engrained in the fabric of Canada like The Hip have. No conversation about the contributions to Canadian music is complete without them.
Formed in 1984 in Kingston Ontario, they have enjoyed one of the most illustrious careers in Canadian music history and Gord Downie has been at the centre of it all. In just over 30 years the band has amassed 14 Juno Awards, a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, a place in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and countless other accolades. Whether it’s immortalizing former Toronto Maple Leafs defence man Bill Barilko in “50 Mission Cap”, Pierre Laporte and the FLQ Crisis in “Locked in the Trunk of a Car, the wrongful imprisonment of David Milgaard in “Wheat Kings”, or countless others, The Tragically have always spoken to Canada, and Canada has always listened.
This Summer The Tragically Hip will embark on one last tour. A final chance for fans to say goodbye to the man, and the band, that has given us enough memories to last a lifetime. So when the band announces the dates, make sure you go. Gather up your friends and ditch school, phone in sick to work, do what ever you have to do to be there. And when Gord Downie takes the stage pay tribute to the man that brought so much joy to the lives of countless Canadians, young and old, from coast to coast.
Take your time to feel sad about the news but when you feel up to it, throw on your favourite Tragically Hip song and celebrate the man. The Legend. Gord
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