Published: Thu, October 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Gord Downie remembered for contributions to Indigenous reconciliation

Gord Downie remembered for contributions to Indigenous reconciliation

According to a statement from his bandmates, he died on Tuesday night Canadian time, surrounded by his family.

"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, ".

The singer announced a year ago he had been diagnosed in December 2015 with terminal brain cancer.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at the edge of tears, read a statement after Downie's death, saying, "For nearly five decades, Gord Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada".

"He wanted to make it better".

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"We're in good hands folks, real good hands".

"We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it". Downey's final concert in August was broadcast live across Canada.

One of the country's most revered singer-songwriters, Downie penned a steady stream of 1990s rock radio staples including "New Orleans Is Sinking", "Blow at High Dough", "Courage", "Ahead By a Century" and "Bobcaygeon".

"Honouring arguably the greatest frontman in Canada rock "n" roll history in our own little way is something most citizens will very much appreciate", said Jason Farr, Ward 2 councillor.

In the months that followed, it was evident that Trudeau had taken the singer's message to heart as his government took several steps to reconcile with Indigenous communities over the treatment of aboriginal children and families under the residential schools program. That stuff doesn't interest me and I don't even know if I could write that if I tried because I don't really feel it.

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While Canadian musicians Drake, the Weeknd and Justin Bieber have made waves internationally, The Tragically Hip built a huge following of die-hard homegrown fans.

"I think we know that as he goes to the spirit world, he will still guide us on this project of reconciliation which isn't just for Indigenous people, that non-Indigenous people have a tremendous role to play as we come out of this dark chapter of colonization and racism", Bennett said.

Fellow Canadians Seth Rogen and KD Lang also remembered Downie on Twitter.

Downie's final solo album "Introduce Yerself" is scheduled to be released posthumously on October 27.

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