One of Canada’s preeminent musicians, the Tragically Hip’s frontman Gord Downie, passed away today at the age of 53. Loved by Canadians from coast to coast to coast, Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma — an incurable form of cancer — in May 2016, he and his band announced a final tour across Canada.
Originally from Kingston, Ont., Downie formed the Tragically Hip with four high school friends. The band had pockets of supporters all over the world, but nothing like the popularity it enjoyed in Canada. Downie led his band to 16 Juno music awards, a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame, and immortalization on a postage stamp in 2013.
Beyond his musical career, Downie was always an advocate for Indigenous rights and environmental protection. His commitment to improving the lives of Canada’s Indigenous people earned him an honorary title “Wicapi Lomani”, meaning “the man who walks among the stars” from the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde.