Gord Downie was the lead singer, songwriter and driving creative force behind The Tragically Hip, who brought their energetic, live performances to audiences around the world for over three decades. The group released their first album, The Tragically Hip, in 1987 and have since released thirteen studio albums, including their final album, Man Machine Poem (2016).
Gord also enjoyed a career as a solo artist. He released six albums to date; Coke Machine Glow (2001), Battle of the Nudes (2003), The Grand Bounce (2010), Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun (2014), Secret Path (2016), and the recently announced Introduce Yerself (2017). Gord’s Secret Path release, which included an album, graphic novel, and film, tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Indigenous boy who died running away from a residential school. Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history – the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the Residential School system – with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation.
Gord has directed music videos, narrated the Waterlife and National Parks Project documentaries, and has appeared in a number of films including director Michael McGowan’s One Week and director Mike Clattenburg’s Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. In 2014, Gord and his brothers, Mike and Patrick, along with Patrick Sambrook, started the production company Edgarland Films.
In this video, the Governor General Honours ceremony recognizes Gord Downie and other Indigenous leaders with the Order of Canada.
In August of 2016, Gord asked all Canadians to look at the state of Indigenous-settler relations in this country and to "Do something" to change them for the better. In December of 2016, Gord was given the Lakota Spirit Name, Wicapi Omani, which can be translated as "Man who walks among the stars" for his reconciliACTIONs. In October of 2017, Gord Downie passed away with his children and family close by. His legacy, messages of hope, and powerful calls to action live on. Gord has dedicated his legacy to creating lasting, positive change in Canada; we are committed to making Gord proud as he begins to walk down this new path in his journey.
The Downie and Wenjack families wish to express our deepest gratitude for the love and prayers for Gord as he begins the next stage of his journey.
The Downie and Wenjack families are grieving the loss of our brother, our friend, Wicapi Omani ("Man Who Walks Among the Stars”).
Just one year ago today, Gord unveiled the Secret Path alongside the extended Wenjack-Achneepineskum family. At that time, Gord called upon all of us to “Do Something” to continue the work of reconciliation, awareness of the trauma of residential schools, and a better life for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
One year later, we are saying goodbye to our dear friend, our brother, and we are committed to carrying out the work of Gord’s legacy.
With love, gratitude, and hope,
1964 – 2017