Gord Downie, frontman of Canadian rock group, the Tragically Hip, has revealed that he is battling terminal brain cancer. The band posted news of Downie's condition on their website and social media channels early on May 24, along with the announcement of a final tour.
Downie and the Hip played a concert in Fort Albany First Nation back in February 2012 during the community’s Great Moon Gathering.
“It was very emotional and real,” Downie said about the show in Fort Albany. He recalled hearing many goose calls from the audience over the course of their set. “I found it very comforting.”
Prior to the 2012 Albany concert, Downie and the band walked out into James Bay to go ice fishing with some local residents.
“I was thinking, maybe I’m the first of my ancestors to stand in that spot, which I sort of declared, which I never really done – but that doesn’t make me a heck of guy,” Downie said. “Anyway, it was a really beautiful experience, which is what we needed to do: to just be outside because we were always rehearsing so it felt really good.”
The Hip's official statement on Downie’s cancer and the final tour reads as follows:
"Hello friends. We have some very tough news to share with you today, and we wish it wasn't so. A few months ago, in December, Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. 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. So after 30-some years together as The Tragically Hip, thousands of shows, and hundreds of tours … we've decided to do another one.
This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us.
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.
So, we're going to dig deep, and try to make this our best tour yet. We hope you can come out and join us this summer — details and dates will be coming this week. And we sincerely thank all of you, for your continued love and support.”
-Paul, GordD, Johnny, Rob, GordS
Tickets are available Friday June 3 at 10 a.m. local time.
Victoria, July 22. Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
Vancouver, July 24. Rogers Arena.
Edmonton, July 28. Rexall Place.
Calgary, Aug 1. Scotiabank Saddledome.
Winnipeg, Aug 5. MTS Centre.
London, Aug. 8. Budweiser Gardens.
Toronto, Aug 10 and Aug. 12. Air Canada Centre.
Hamilton , Aug. 16. FirstOntario Centre.
Ottawa, Aug. 18. Canadian Tire Centre.
Kingston, Aug. 20. Rogers K-Rock Centre.
Notes and photo for this article taken from Wawatay’s archives: http://www.wawataynews.ca/home/tragically-hip-rock-coast