Canadian band The Tragically Hip is getting ready to embark on their farewell tour. In late May, the band announced some devastating news to the world; their lead singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. As a result, The Tragically Hip, a band with an over-30-year history, began plans for their last-ever concert tour.
The Tragically Hip’s singer’s cancer diagnosis was privately known among friends, family, and band members for months prior to the official announcement made to fans. According to a Rolling Stone report, Gord Downie was originally diagnosed in December. He underwent surgery and cancer treatments to eradicate the deadly disease, but his doctor expected that he would never recover from the devastating and terminal disease.
“Unfortunately, one day it will come back.”
Because of the devastating diagnosis and prognosis facing The Tragically Hip’s lead singer, the band decided to go out with a bang. The Tragically Hip will begin their farewell tour on July 22 in their home nation of Canada.
According to media reports, the band’s final tour is being used to both say goodbye and to promote The Tragically Hip’s latest album, Man Machine Poem.
While many people in America have never heard of The Tragically Hip, the band is a cultural mainstay in their native Canada, and they have been for decades. Their albums have climbed the Canadian music charts over and over again, but they have never managed to gain the same traction outside of the North American country. Reportedly, The Tragically Hip fell short of international fame as a result of “some unlucky breaks.”
“The quality and the appreciation of this band is not unique to its Canadian-ness. It’s just happenstance that they’re not as big as the biggest bands in the world.”
The Tragically Hip’s lead singer, now facing terminal cancer, didn’t (and doesn’t) seem to mind the band’s lack of recognition in the United States. Unlike some acts, the singer didn’t see relevance in the United States as a feasible barometer of his band’s worthiness or success.
“[Interviewers] always ask us about our success or lack of success in the States, which I find absurd. While that is a story of the band, there are so many other stories.”
Because The Tragically Hip have been unfailingly content with their success in Canada and have been overwhelmingly willing to pay homage to their native roots, Canada has done the same for them. The Tragically Hip has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and even immortalized on a stamp. Tens of thousands of fans and supporters of the band have collectively petitioned their national government to award The Tragically Hip one of Canada’s most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada.
The Tragically Hip is so beloved and renowned in Canada that from now on, July 26 (the date of the band’s last-ever Vancouver show) is to be known as Tragically Hip Day.
Following the news that the lead singer of The Tragically Hip is facing a (likely losing) battle with terminal brain cancer, supporters of Downie and The Tragically Hip took to social media to share their love and respect.
The support for Gord Downie and the band has been so substantial that it’s even reached the highest level of Canada’s government. The nation’s prime minister shared his respects on Twitter.
Even those unfamiliar with The Tragically Hip’s lead singer (in a professional manner) have nothing but good things to say about him professionally. Gord Downie has been publicly acclaimed as a wonderful person on social and traditional media alike following his announcement that he is suffering from terminal cancer.
The Tragically Hip will put on a farewell tour consisting of over a dozen performances. The final show will be in Kingston on August 20.
[Photo by Paul McKinnon/Shutterstock]