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Justin Trudeau Openly Cries at Death of Gord Downie

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau openly wept as he made a statement on the passing of his friend, the rock poet Gord Downie

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:October 19, 2017, 10:42 AM IST
Justin Trudeau Openly Cries at Death of Gord Downie
Gord Downie in 2000 (image courtesy: AFP Relaxnews)
Rock poet and Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, whose evocative lyrics helped define Canada, has died at age 53. Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer after suffering a seizure during a walk in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario in December 2015.

According to a statement from his bandmates, he passed away on Tuesday evening surrounded by his family.

"He loved this country with everything he had... He loved every hidden corner, every aspect of this country," an emotional Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, tears streaming down his face. "He wanted to make it better. He wanted us to be better than we were," Trudeau said of the man he called a friend, adding, "We are less a country without Gord Downie in it."

After decades of making music, Downie's doctors made public his condition in May 2016, saying he had rebounded after undergoing surgery and chemotherapy but that the cancer was "incurable," prompting an outpouring of support. On the same day, the Tragically Hip announced a farewell tour. Downey's final concert in August was broadcast live across Canada.

The alternative rock band broke out in the '90s with hits such as New Orleans is Sinking, Blow at High Dough and 38 Years Old. Its discography sold more than eight million copies, appealing to party people and intellectuals alike. Downey's lyrics -- steeped in Canadiana -- explored the wrongs perpetrated against indigenous peoples, environmental causes and the plight of the wrongfully convicted.

In 2005, The Tragically Hip was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and four years ago was featured on a Canadian stamp.

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