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‘He Painted Landscapes With His Words’: Gord Downie Remembered By Canadian Leaders, Music Industry

In Canada's music industry, which embraced the Tragically Hip through 14 albums, 16 Juno Awards, and countless stadium tours, including an emotional swan song trek just last year, Downie's death has…

It’s difficult to sum up just how important Gord Downie was to Canadian music fans around the world — so it’s no surprise that The Tragically Hip frontman’s death Tuesday following a nearly two-year battle with glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer, is being met with a kind of reverence only saved for national heroes.

In a heartfelt statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Downie a “rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country,” adding, “The Tragically Hip’s music invited us to explore places we had never been — from Mistaken Point to Churchill — and helped us understand each other, while capturing the complexity and vastness of the place we call home.”

Trudeau went on, “Gord’s command of language was profound. He painted landscapes with his words, elevating Canadian geography, historical figures, and myths. When he spoke, he gave us goosebumps and made us proud to be Canadian. Our identity and culture are richer because of his music, which was always raw and honest — like Gord himself.”

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In the nation’s music industry, which embraced the Tragically Hip through 14 albums, 16 Juno Awards, and countless stadium tours, including an emotional swan song trek just last year, Downie’s death has been met with a mix of sadness and admiration. Here is a list that is sure to grow throughout the day:

Universal Music Canada, the band’s label:

Jeffrey Remedies, president and CEO of Universal Music Canada:

Industry trade organization Music Canada:

Michael Hollett, co-founder and managing director, NXNE:

Canadian performing rights organization SOCAN (The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada):

The city of Toronto:

The Canadian Academy Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), which produces the JUNO Awards:

The prime minister also tweeted about Downie’s death:

iHeartRadio Canada:

The Toronto International Film Festival:

The Downie family’s official statement: