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Gord Downie Hillside Festival, 2001 | © Ryan Merkley / Flickr
Gord Downie Hillside Festival, 2001 | © Ryan Merkley / Flickr

Despite Terminal Cancer Diagnosis, The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie Insists The Show Goes On

Picture of Alix Hall
Updated: 12 January 2017
This morning, the country woke to the tragic news of Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis. Downie, 52, is a musician, writer, and actor; as the lead singer and lyricist of The Tragically Hip, he’s also an undeniable Canadian musical icon.


A conversation about Canadian music isn’t complete without a (lengthy) mention of The Tragically Hip. The Kingston, Ontario based band formed in 1984, and have consistently released critically acclaimed albums ever since, garnering 14 Juno awards along the way. Despite Downie’s diagnosis, in true Hip fashion, the band is insisting the show goes on.

In a message on The Tragically Hip’s website, the band addressed their fans – affectionately referred to as ‘friends’ – informing them of Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis in December. The band has been standing by him, and will continue to do so; part of which involves an upcoming summer tour:

‘So after 30-some years together as The Tragically Hip, thousands of shows, and hundreds of tours…

We’ve decided to do another one.’

Their summer tour will only stop in Canadian cities. The Tragically Hip’s 14th studio album, Man Machine Poem, is set to be released June 17th. Tour details and dates will be released later this week, with the band making a promise to their fans:

‘So, we’re going to dig deep, and try to make this our best tour yet.’ 

Following the news this morning, Downie received love from fans; CBC radio organized a country-wide sing-along of Courage, with Canadians sending out their own message of support.