It’s a sad day for lovers of great music, in Canada and around the world. Lead singer of The Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, has announced he has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The band made the news public on their site this morning, along with the announcement of a summer tour, despite the diagnosis. Downie’s manager, Bernie Breen, held a live press conference this morning from Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, alongside Dr. James R. Perry, Head of the Division of Neurology at Sunnybrook, and bandmate Patrick Sambrook.
Perry revealed that Downie’s cancer, an aggressive tumor known as a glioblastoma, was discovered after a seizure leading to an emergency room visit late last year.
“They’re impossible to remove completely by surgery [and] they frequently recur,” Perry said at the press conference. “It’s my difficult duty today to tell you Gord Downie’s tumour is incurable.”
Downie completed chemotherapy treatment a month ago, during which Perry says Gord was “tired as you know what,” and a recent MRI showed that swelling has decreased.
“This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us,” the band said about the upcoming tour in the post on their site this morning. “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.”
Not only is Downie one of the finest lyricists of our time, but he’s also known worldwide as a spectacular showman. If you’ve ever seen The Hip in concert, you know what we’re talking about. Downie pours himself into his performances, physically and emotionally—and the results are indeed special.
With the prognosis still unclear, but the green light given by doctors, Downie and the group will set out to do what they do best.
“Their headspace, his headspace is, ‘we want to blow people’s minds’,” said Breen.
We’re certain it will be a mind-blowing tour. And if you live in one of these tour stops just announced by The Hip, we’ll see you at the shows.
- 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.