Canadian band The Tragically Hip band has announced that their lead singer Gord Downie has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. A message posted on their website and on Facebook said Downie “endured a lot of difficult times, and has been fighting hard.”
The band said that it plans to organized an all-Canadian tour this summer, because it “feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us.” Dates and details for the tour will be coming this week.
At a press conference on Tuesday at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Dr. James Perry, head of neurology, said that Downie has glioblastoma, an incurable and aggressive form of brain cancer.
Downie, 52, was diagnosed with cancer in December, 2015, after he had a seizure and was admitted to hospital. A brain scan revealed a tumour on the left side of his brain. Doctors were able to operate and remove a major part of the tumour and Downie underwent a course of 30 radiation treatments. This was followed by an intense course of chemotherapy in April.
The Tragically Hip, known as “The Hip” to their multitude of fans, was formed in 1984 in Kingston, Ont. while the members were still high school students. They have released more than a dozen studio and live albums, nine of which have reached No. 1 in Canada.
They have won 14 Juno Awards, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and had part of a downtown Kingston street named after them, “Tragically Hip Way” in 2010. Downie has released four albums of his own since 2001, and appeared in the film, ‘Men With Brooms’ as well as an episode of Trailer Park Boys.
Downie, a father of four, revealed in 2012 that his wife, Laura, has been treated for breast cancer, a diagnosis he said that had been hard on the family.
This is the message released by Tragically Hip on Tuesday:
“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” – CINEWS