News Tragically Hip Front Man Diagnosed With Terminal Brain Cancer

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  1. SlipperyVic

    SlipperyVic In Gord We Trust Gold

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    Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has terminal cancer
    Statement says Canadian singer 'has been fighting hard'
    By Laura Fraser, CBC News Posted: May 24, 2016 5:53 AM ET Last Updated: May 24, 2016 10:00 AM ET


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    Gord Downie, Tragically Hip singer, has brain cancer 3:49

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    Gord Downie, the lead singer and lyricist of the iconic Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip, announced this morning he has terminal brain cancer, but still plans to join his bandmates of more than 30 years for a summer tour.

    The band posted the news of Downie's illness on its website this morning and their band manager will release more details at a press conference at Sunnybrook Hospital at 11 a.m.

    Downie was diagnosed with the disease in December, the statement says.

    "Since then, obviously, he's endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard. In privacy along with his family, and through all of this, we've been standing by him."

    Downie, 52, and Laura Leigh Usher have four children.

    Despite the diagnosis, The Hip announced it will "dig deep" and hit the road together this summer. The details of that tour should be released later this week, according to the band.

    "This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us," group members said in their statement. "What we in The Hip receive, each 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."

    'I love this country'
    The Tragically Hip's frontman has long established himself as one of the country's greatest songwriters, his lyrics giving a voice to Canada's land, its history and, at times, its official winter sport.

    "You write about what you know," he told CBC's Wendy Mesley in 2012. "And I love this country. I love my idea of this country.

    "Where I go and the people I've met, underlying everything is that commitment to finding the common good."

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    Downie's performance has always been characterized by his energy and his dance moves. (Canadian Press)

    His music has given him a chance to bear witness to that, travelling from St. John's to Attawapiskat First Nation to Vancouver since the Tragically Hip began playing the Kingston, Ont., bar scene in 1983.

    Downie and The Hip — now also including Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Rob Baker and Paul Langlois — swiftly ascended from playing cover songs for Queen's University students, following a gig at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern three years later.

    That led to a record deal with MCA and the release of the self-titled 1987 EP, says the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, to which the group was inducted in 2005.

    Downie's evocative lyrics didn't break out into the mainstream, however, until Up to Here, the group's first full-length album, was released in August 1989.

    14 Junos
    That album gave birth to the bluesy-rock single New Orleans is Sinking — which claimed the No. 1 spot on the Canadian content chart — and earned The Hip the first of its 14 Juno Awards. The Hip won Most Promising Group of the Year in 1990.

    The next three full-length studio albums — Road Apples, Fully Completely and Day for Night — cemented the band members' reputation as commanders in the Canadian rock scene, as they quickly graduated to arena-sized venues and were so popular they regularly hosted their own outdoor festival, Another Roadside Attraction.

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    The Tragically Hip has won 14 Junos, including Album of the Year for Trouble at the Henhouse in 1997. (Canadian Press)

    The group has been among a select few acts that could garner heavy airplay on both alternative and classic rock radio stations around the country. While Downie was adept at writing something universal like My Music at Work or more enigmatically in the case of Little Bones and Locked in the Trunk of Car, quite often the band's songs were infused with Canadiana — the hockey anthem Fifty Mission Cap, the contemplative Bobcaygeon and Wheat Kings, in part about wrongfully convicted Manitoba native David Milgaard.

    Fellow Kingston native Dan Aykroyd, former Saturday Night Live cast member, was clad in a Canada sweatshirt when he famously introduced the Tragically Hip on the show in 1995 for the performance of Grace, Too and Nautical Disaster.

    'One of the most captivating frontmen'
    Downie channelled his lyricism inward on the band's 2012 album, Now for Plan A, released a year after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

    "The band, we rallied," Downie said in an interview on CBC's The Hour in 2012. "We're a big family and rallied around my wife, Laura, and helped her through it."

    While the band has appealed to countless fans through their sound and the stories they've told through song, Downie's singular stage presence looms large.


    The Hip's frontman can turn a microphone into a bucking bronco in one minute and a fishing spear in the next, his inimitable footwork earning him a Dora Award for choreography.

    Anyone who has ever seen Downie on stage is used to his perpetual handkerchief, both a prop in his elaborate ballet — and a necessity given the stage lights, his energy and athleticism.

    "His improvised antics are a major part of the show, completely transfixing the audience," the CBC's Jesse Kinos-Goodin wrote in 2013. "One performance and yet it yields, easily, 100 or more separate dance moves; such is the spontaneous genius of one of the most captivating frontmen in Canadian music."

    Man Machine Poem
    Although Downie has also produced three solo albums since 2001, as well as a collaboration with indie darlings The Sadies, his legacy is unquestionably tied to The Hip. The group also received the Governor General's National Arts Centre Award.

    Man Machine Poem, the group's 13th studio album, will be released in June, although the single In a World Possessed by the Human Mind has already been released.

    Performing for the band's legion of fans has always been one of Downie's great loves, he's told the CBC.

    "Enjoy those one-night moments. We'll only be here tonight, this bunch of us in this room," he told The Hour in 2006. "Let's try and find some point of transcendence and leap together."


    Well this is a bummer.. these dudes rock. At least these guys are going for one last tour.
     
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  2. SlipperyVic

    SlipperyVic In Gord We Trust Gold

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  3. SlipperyVic

    SlipperyVic In Gord We Trust Gold

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  4. SalsMasterShake

    SalsMasterShake Mouthpiece VIP

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    Fuck cancer! :punch:
     
    Anthony223, Bye You!, GIRLY and 10 others like this.
  5. Anyonenow

    Anyonenow Well-Known Member

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  6. goldtopper

    goldtopper Well Known Heterosexual Gold

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    Man, as I age I see more and more friends, family... just ...people going down. I agree with your statement 110%
     
  7. rpinata

    rpinata New Member

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    One of my all-time favorites.
    Hang in there, Gordie!
     
    Bye You!, Chriza, Dirty South and 2 others like this.
  8. Gaylord Focker

    Gaylord Focker Well-Known Member VIP

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    Repost
     
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  9. StRyDeRxX

    StRyDeRxX Bling Bling Gold

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    One of my best friends from high school passed away from cancer when she was 27. Her funeral was one of the worst days of my life. :depressed:
     
    Bye You!, GIRLY, MadWoman777 and 2 others like this.
  10. shamrackle

    shamrackle Well-Known Member

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    Terminal? , that's rough, I have some of their albums/cds, good stuff, never understood why they never cracked America,,,,maybe too Canadian?
     
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  11. LaserT

    LaserT You have to have fun. Gold

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    Still plans to join his band for the summer tour. Good for him. Keep fighting brother!
     
  12. greenchiclets

    greenchiclets Well-Known Member

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    Tragic.
     
  13. PTRacing

    PTRacing Well-Known Member

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    News conference right now on msn.com/en-ca/entertainment
     
  14. SalsMasterShake

    SalsMasterShake Mouthpiece VIP

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    My dad just got diagnosed with stomach cancer 2 weeks ago. He's doing chemo and seems to be handling it well.

    My poor mom succumbed to bladder cancer 12-years ago, less than 3 weeks after her diagnosis.
     
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  15. goldtopper

    goldtopper Well Known Heterosexual Gold

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    Sorry man. Best of luck to your Father.
    Similar stuff here-
    Grandpa died of Lung
    Mom fought Ovarian and passed after like 6 years
    Best friend got stomach 2 years ago, stage 4 right off the bat. Diagnosed Sept, passed in January.
    Another good friend just got hit with Stage 4 esophageal and it's metatasticized. Fighting it like a champ.

    Plenty of people beat this thing now, you Dad will be in my prayers.
     
  16. Ashbeard

    Ashbeard Well-Known Member

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    That's so sad. They are the first live concert I ever went to. I had to help park cars all day in the summer heat in a hay field to then get in to see the hip that night. Awesome live band.
     
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  17. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

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    Unfortunately, this great band never caught on here. That's ok with me. It allowed me to see them play in a bar in Grand Rapids back in the 90's when they were still at their peak. I prefer small venues over going to arenas. It was a treat to see one of my favorite bands in such a small venue.
     
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  18. check1

    check1 VIP Extreme Gold

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    Gordie's a hell of a writer and a hell of a showman. This sucks.
     
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  19. check1

    check1 VIP Extreme Gold

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    Couldn't see this coming. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Fillmore Fingers

    Fillmore Fingers Sandy Vag Banned User

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    The tragedy is that he didn't get it 12 albums ago.