An early breaking story shook the country last October when the Hip announced that Downie had “quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by” after his battle with brain cancer.
“Gord knew this day was coming – his response was to spend this precious time as he always had – making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss… on the lips,” the Hip and Downie family said in a statement. “Gord said he had lived many lives. As a musician, he lived ‘the life’ for over 30 years, lucky to do most of it with his high school buddies. At home, he worked just as tirelessly at being a good father, son, brother, husband and friend. No one worked harder on every part of their life than Gord. No one.”
On Wednesday, the Hip shared photos of Downie and the band, to mark one year since his passing.
“We’re missing Gord today and all days, we love you brother. Sincerely, The Hip,” the band said.
Canadians across the country paid tribute to the Kingston native, sharing memories of the artist who died at 53, and the impact he had on their lives.
“One year ago a great light went out. A poet. An advocate. You were courage, you were love Gord Downie. You are missed,” Martha McLean tweeted.
“It’s been exactly a year since we lost Gord Downie, one of the most influential and popular artists ever in the Canadian music scene,” Eric Alper tweeted.
“Remembering @gorddownie and his undeniable impact on Canadian culture. #GordDownie embodied the spirit of Canadians and will always be missed,” another chimed in.
Several tributes were planned to honour Downie and his legacy, including a concert in Burlington, Ont., to pay tribute to the singer’s work on truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Canada. Downie spent the last year of his life creating awareness about the impact of residential schools and issues affecting First Nations.
Before his death, Downie created The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund “to call Canadians to learning and action in solidarity with Indigenous peoples of this land.”
In July, remaining Hip members Gord Sinclair, Rob Baker, Paul Langlois and Johnny Faye talked about life after Downie, and how it was the end of the road for the Hip.
“It’s still pretty fresh and it crushed Gord that The Hip wasn’t going to be,” Langlois told ET Canada. “Matter of fact, he was constantly saying we should continue, ‘What about this guy?’ or ‘What about this girl?’ And you know at a certain period he was talking that way. And it was like, ‘No way, man you got to stop.’ I think we are all still adjusting.”
Baker echoed his bandmate’s thoughts, suggesting that without Downie, playing wasn’t an option.
“When I say The Tragically Hip doesn’t exist as a performing unit anymore because a key member is gone, I think understand that.” Baker said. “We wouldn’t be The Hip without Gord. We worked together musically, we’ve done various things together on musical fronts, collaborated on projects and you know these guys are my brothers and I love them dearly, but The Hip has played their last time.”
Here’s a look at some of the social media tributes to Downie.
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