Singer/songwriter and poetic improviser Gordon Downie was one of Canada's most treasured artists. Beginning in 1983, he fronted Kingston, Ontario's beloved trad rock band the Tragically Hip, and Downie's lush and charming lyrical stories garnered the Hip many fans across the globe, particularly in pockets of New York and Michigan. Downie, however, was the leading force — not only as a vocalist, but also as an artist. The clarity in his songwriting exuded a passion, a poignant sensibility for the most simplistic and the most complex.
On May 24, 2016 Downie announced through the Tragically Hip's website that he had been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. He continued to tour in support of the band's recently released 13th studio album, Man Machine Poem, culminating in a massive final concert at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston that was streamed and broadcast live via the CBC to an estimated 11.7 million people. Downie died on October 17, 2017 at the age of 53. ~ MacKenzie Wilson