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Old 05-31-2016, 11:20 PM   #1
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Default Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer

Sad news:

Gord Downie, the lead singer and lyricist of the iconic Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip, announced Tuesday he has terminal brain cancer, but still plans to join his bandmates of more than 30 years for a summer tour.

The band posted the news of Downie's illness on its website and the band managers released more details about it an aggressive, incurable form of cancer called glioblastoma at a news conference at Sunnybrook Hospital later in the day.

Tragically Hip announces tour dates after singer Gord Downie's cancer diagnosis revealed
Gord Downie's 'incurable' brain cancer won't keep him from singing, his doctor says
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PHOTOS | Gord Downie: Hip frontman, freestyling lyricist and Canada's troubadour
Downie was diagnosed with the disease in December and has since undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

"Since then, obviously, he's endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard," the band said in their letter to fans. "In privacy along with his family, and through all of this, we've been standing by him."

Media placeholderPlay Media
Lots of love for Gord Downie3:32

Downie, 52, and Laura Leigh Usher have four children.

Despite the diagnosis, The Hip announced it will "dig deep" and hit the road together this summer. The details of that tour should be released later this week, according to the band.

"This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us," group members said in their statement. "What we in The Hip receive, each time we play together, is a connection; with each other; with music and it's magic; and during the shows, a special connection with all of you, our incredible fans."

'I love this country'

The Tragically Hip's frontman has long established himself as one of the country's greatest songwriters, his lyrics giving a voice to Canada's land, its history and, at times, its official winter sport.

"You write about what you know," he told CBC's Wendy Mesley in 2012. "And I love this country. I love my idea of this country.

"Where I go and the people I've met, underlying everything is that commitment to finding the common good."

Tragically Hip
Downie's performance has always been characterized by his energy and his dance moves. (Canadian Press)

His music has given him a chance to bear witness to that, travelling from St. John's to Attawapiskat First Nation to Vancouver since the Tragically Hip began playing the Kingston, Ont., bar scene in 1983.

Downie and The Hip now also including Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Rob Baker and Paul Langlois swiftly ascended from playing cover songs for Queen's University students, following a gig at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern three years later.

That led to a record deal with MCA and the release of the self-titled 1987 EP, says the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, to which the group was inducted in 2005.

Downie's evocative lyrics didn't break out into the mainstream, however, until Up to Here, the group's first full-length album, was released in August 1989.

14 Junos

That album gave birth to the bluesy-rock single New Orleans is Sinking which claimed the No. 1 spot on the Canadian content chart and earned The Hip the first of its 14 Juno Awards. The Hip won Most Promising Group of the Year in 1990.

The next three full-length studio albums Road Apples, Fully Completely and Day for Night cemented the band members' reputation as commanders in the Canadian rock scene, as they quickly graduated to arena-sized venues and were so popular they regularly hosted their own outdoor festival, Another Roadside Attraction.

The Tragically Hip has won 14 Junos, including Album of the Year for Trouble at the Henhouse in 1997. (Canadian Press)

The group has been among a select few acts that could garner heavy airplay on both alternative and classic rock radio stations around the country. While Downie was adept at writing something universal like My Music at Work or more enigmatically in the case of Little Bones and Locked in the Trunk of Car, quite often the band's songs were infused with Canadiana the hockey anthem Fifty Mission Cap, the contemplative Bobcaygeon and Wheat Kings, in part about wrongfully convicted Manitoba native David Milgaard.

Fellow Kingston native Dan Aykroyd, former Saturday Night Live cast member, was clad in a Canada sweatshirt when he famously introduced the Tragically Hip on the show in 1995 for the performance of Grace, Too and Nautical Disaster.

'One of the most captivating frontmen'

Downie channelled his lyricism inward on the band's 2012 album, Now for Plan A, released a year after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"The band, we rallied," Downie said in an interview on CBC's The Hour in 2012. "We're a big family and rallied around my wife, Laura, and helped her through it."

While the band has appealed to countless fans through their sound and the stories they've told through song, Downie's singular stage presence looms large.

The Hip's frontman can turn a microphone into a bucking bronco in one minute and a fishing spear in the next, his inimitable footwork earning him a Dora Award for choreography.

Anyone who has ever seen Downie on stage is used to his perpetual handkerchief, both a prop in his elaborate ballet and a necessity given the stage lights, his energy and athleticism.

"His improvised antics are a major part of the show, completely transfixing the audience," the CBC's Jesse Kinos-Goodin wrote in 2013. "One performance and yet it yields, easily, 100 or more separate dance moves; such is the spontaneous genius of one of the most captivating frontmen in Canadian music."

Man Machine Poem

Although Downie has also produced three solo albums since 2001, as well as a collaboration with indie darlings The Sadies, his legacy is unquestionably tied to The Hip. The group also received the Governor General's National Arts Centre Award.

Man Machine Poem, the group's 13th studio album, will be released in June, although the single In a World Possessed by the Human Mind has already been released.

Performing for the band's legion of fans has always been one of Downie's great loves, he's told the CBC.

"Enjoy those one-night moments. We'll only be here tonight, this bunch of us in this room," he told The Hour in 2006. "Let's try and find some point of transcendence and leap together."
"I'll see you all next Saturday..."
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer

When I heard the sad news last week i recalled this special evening with two beloved Canadian Gordons -

Gord and Gord - 2010

show-conversation and songs with Gord and Gord at:
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Old 07-08-2016, 08:51 PM   #3
Affair on Touhy Ave.
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Default Re: Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer

Wonder how he's doing at the moment?

Nothing further on their website.

I remember hearing this song.

Kind of wonder what it's about?

The video according to Wiki was filmed on a farm in Whitby Ontario.

Don't know about other songs, I've read haven't been all that well received in the US.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer

I live in Whitby.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer

Gord has died... RIP.. this night was wonderful..

I watched the last concert on the TV's in the casino bar after the Lightfoot show I attended in Moncton, N.B. along with Rick, Mike, Barry, Carter. It was transfixing...
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer

Gord Downie is up there in the "Tower of Song."

He made his mark and left us too soon but his legacy will live on.

Wishing you good spaces there Gord.
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Old 02-05-2019, 04:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer

Published Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:46AM EDT
TORONTO -- Jim Cuddy shared the stage with fellow Canadian music star Gord Downie several times over their long careers, but it was a performance last February 2017 that was perhaps the most poignant.

Cuddy and his band Blue Rodeo were performing at Toronto's Massey Hall with opening act the Sadies when they invited Downie onstage at the last minute to perform the hit "Lost Together" as an encore.

It had been nearly a year since Downie announced his diagnosis with an incurable form of brain cancer, but the singer-songwriter had shown herculean strength with a series of musical projects, a cross-country tour, and passionate advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. He was suffering from memory loss and didn't know the lyrics to "Lost Together" but he seemed undaunted and full of life onstage.

Cuddy never thought it would end up being Downie's last public performance. He died Tuesday night at age 53.

"I knew that he had a terminal illness but I guess I just thought Gord would be the one to at least stretch the limit," an emotional Cuddy said during a phone interview.
"I just didn't realize the end was so near."

The encore performance, which is posted on YouTube, came on a night when there were three "iconic Gords" in the audience, said Cuddy. The others were actor Gordon Pinsent and musician Gordon Lightfoot.

Travis Good of the Sadies invited Downie onstage and he obliged, wearing the outfit that became one of his signature looks in the final chapter of his life -- a Canadian tuxedo of sorts with a tuque, jean jacket, hoodie and jeans.

Holding a piece of paper with the lyrics to "Lost Together," Downie sang along with the musicians for a bit before crumpling up the cheat sheet and taking in the audience.
"He was standing beside me for a while and he was talking to me and he was just saying the most complimentary and loving things," said Cuddy.

"It was so sweet and I just said, 'No, I'll guide you, don't worry. I know you don't know the song."'
As it turned out, Cuddy forgot to guide him. But Downie charged on, improvising and even doing a little air guitar.

"Gord was present and he knew what was going on," said Cuddy. "He didn't really know the song and he participated in this way that only an incredibly innate and gifted performer could.
"He just suddenly walked to the mic during the piano solo and started to do this beautiful incantation and we were all stunned by how powerful it was.
"It was very valiant to be up there."

After the show they had a "general celebration," said Cuddy, noting fans were thrilled to see Downie there.

"I think we were quite aware that it was a historic night," said Cuddy. "Not that it was the end of anything but that it was a gathering of very close friends that had made their way in music and it was very beautiful."

Cuddy considered Downie a friend and felt they shared a special connection in the music scene. Both Blue Rodeo and the Hip had parallel success, becoming stars in Canada but not south of the border.

"I have always used Gord as an example of why Canadian music is unique," said Toronto-based Cuddy.

"People always ask bands like the Hip, ourselves, 'Why are you popular in Canada and not popular in the States?' And I realized, because we're different."

Downie was "incredibly important" to the Canadian music scene, Cuddy said, noting "he was an extremely good singer" who gave a unique expression to songs including "Ahead by a Century" and "Courage."

He was also "super funny," he said, pointing to a showcase the two bands did along with the Eagles in Newfoundland.
The Eagles were slated to perform last, after the Hip, and their manager Irving Azoff "was at the side of the stage gesturing to Gord to shorten his set."
"I was at the side of the stage just totally offended, like, 'What are you doing?"' said Cuddy. "And Gord was laughing and laughing, spinning around, doing his show. It was just an amazing show.
"Afterwards I said to him, 'Didn't that piss you off?' He said, 'I never thought in my life I'd have Irving Azoff telling me to shorten my set. It was awesome.'
"I thought, 'That's so Gord, to see the humour in a messed up situation."'

3 gords-feb.2017 @ massey:cuddy:blue rodeo:sadies by char Westbrook, on Flickr
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