Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.
The band posted the announcement on their website today, calling it “very tough news.”
The Tragically Hip says Downie received the diagnosis in December, and has since then “endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard.”
The post says the band has been standing by Downie as he deals with the diagnosis in private, along with his family.
Dr. James Perry, head of neurology at Sunnybrook hospital says “it’s my difficult duty today to tell you that Gord Downie’s brain tumor is incurable.”
Perry says it is one of the most common causes of cancer death in Canadians between the ages of 40 and 60.
The primary tumor was made apparent to doctors after conducting imaging work to determine the cause of a seizure suffered by Downie in December of 2015.
Since that time Downie has undergone brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
After seeing how the tumor has responded to treatment Perry remains optimistic about time frames.
“Through research we have learned that certain bio-markers or proteins on the surface of tumors that are associated with a more favourable response to treatment and also confer a significantly higher chance of longer term survival and Gord has one of these proteins.”
The 52-year-old Downie is married to Laura Leigh Usher, who battled breast cancer in 2012, and has four children.
He was a founding member of the band in 1984 in Kingston.
The Tragically Hip have released 12 albums, nine of them reaching #1 in Canada.
The Hip have also won 14 Juno Awards and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
The band says that after 30 some years together, they intend to go on another tour this summer, saying they feel it’s the right thing to do.
On the web posting, the band says they will try to make it their best tour ever.
Details about the Canada-wide tour will be announced Wednesday.
Man Machine Poem, the group’s 13th studio album, will be released in June.
The band’s statement, in its entirety, reads as follows:
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