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Tragically Hip Frontman Gord Downie Dead At 53

Tragically Hip Frontman Gord Downie Dead At 53 Promo Image

The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie died on Oct. 17 at the age of 53.

Downie passed away from glioblastoma -- a form of brain cancer -- while surrounded by his family, reports CBC.

"Gord knew this day was coming -- his response was to spend this precious time as he always had -- making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss ... on the lips," a statement from his family said.

Downie discovered the cancer after suffering from a seizure in December 2015. Fans learned of his condition on May 24, 2016, which was also the day the Canadian rock band announced its last summer tour.

In response, hundreds bought tickets in support of the group's lead singer and lyricist, whose poetic lyrics won the admiration of literary and party-types alike.

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As the band's singer, Downie helped The Tragically Hip, whose discography has sold more than 8 million copies, win a myriad of accolades.

Together, the group boasts 16 Juno awards, the Order of Canada, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction, a Governor General's Performing Arts Award and an honorary fellowship with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Canada even named a street and created a postage stamp in honor of the group.

Downie also worked as an accomplished solo musician and writer, collaborating with Toronto roots-rock band the Sadies, authoring a book of poetry and releasing multiple albums. The most recent, titled "Introduce Yerself," is due out on Oct. 27.

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Toward the end of his life, Downie spent much time speaking on behalf of the country's indigenous people.

"Canada is not Canada," he once said. "We are not the country we think we are."

In his multimedia project, "Secret Path," Downie told the story of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who died of exposure and hunger in 1966 after running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in the Ontario province.

At the same time, he created the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund to "start a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples."

Many have rushed to pay tribute to Downie's legacy, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it," the prime minister said, reports USA Today. "And he wanted to make it better. He knew as great as we were, we needed to be better than we are. And that's why his last years were devoted to Chanie Wenjack and to reconciliation. This is something I have certainly drawn inspiration and strength from."

Sources: CBC, USA Today / Featured Image: Moyia Misner-Pellow/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Ryan Merkley/Wikimedia Commons, Scott Alexander/Wikimedia Commons

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