Now it’s getting personal!
It’s one thing to deal with the untimely deaths of music superstars like David Bowie, Prince and Glenn Frey but today’s announcement that Tragically Hip, lead vocalist Gord Downie has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer strikes as a real punch to the gut for all music loving Canadians.
The Tragically Hip are our band. The Kingston Ontario septet of Downie, lead guitarist Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay who sing about places like Bobcaygeon and dead Toronto Maple Leaf hockey players (Bill Barillko). A band that has won 14 Juno Awards, been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (Winnipeg 2005) while remaining impervious to the United States which still hasn’t figured them out.
In announcing 52-year-old Downie’s plight on their website today, band members Langois, Baker, Sinclair and Fay also announced the band will shortly release their 13th and final studio album “Man Machine Poem” and one final tour this summer (dates to be announced lWednesday).
The band’s statement on their facebook read: We have some very tough news to share with you today and we wish it wasn’t so. A few months ago (in December) Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Since then, obviously, he endured a lot of difficult times and he has been fighting hard. In privacy along with his family (wife and four children) and through all of this, we’ve been standing by him.
So after 30 some years together as The Tragically Hip, thousands of shows and hundreds of tours, we’ve decided to do another one. This feels like the right thing to do now for Gord and for all of us.
What we in the Hip receive every 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.
So we are going to dig deep and try to make this our best tour yet. And we sincerely thank all of you for your continued love and support.
Dr James Perry, Head of Neurology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, confirmed Downie is suffering from Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain tumour and noted “Gord is doing very well but it is to early to know his prognosis.” Downie’s condition was diagnosed when he suffered a seizure in December and he has undergone surgery and chemotherapy. Although, Downie will need constant supervision, Perry is confident the Hip lead vocalist will be able to complete the band’s planned ‘farewell’ tour
Tour dates and record release dates will be announced shortly.
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