Gord Downie dead: The Tragically Hip lead singer dies aged 53

Lead singer of Canada's Tragically Hip Gordon Downie performs during Woodstock'99 Saturday

"Last night Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by", his heartbroken family wrote in a statement. "No doubt drawing on all of the emotion and the crowd, no doubt knowing that this may be his last time in front of such a major audience".

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".

Hamilton will commemorate late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie with a plaque at First Ontario Centre.

The Tragically Hip wound up releasing 13 studio albums, two live albums and an EP between their formation in 1984 and Gord's death.

"If you're a musician and you're born in Canada it's in your DNA to like the Tragically Hip", Green said.

Downie also produced three solo albums beginning in 2001, as well as a collaboration with fellow Canadian indie darlings The Sadies.

Thousands gathered in Hamilton's Gage Park last summer for the largest local celebration of The Tragically Hip's last show of the band's Man Machine Poem tour.

"Gord restored the dignity and innocence of a little boy who only wanted to go home, and we have been humbled by his determination to share the story of Chanie and all of our youth who never made it home", Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said of the Secret Path/Chanie Wenjack Fund project, which blurred the line between creative undertaking and social justice venture.

The prime minister later choked up during a CBC interview about the singer's place in Canadian culture.

"Gord's command of language was profound", Trudeau said in his statement.

"We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it", he noted. "This is something I have certainly drawn inspiration and strength from". Rest in peace, Gord.

As news of Downie's death began filtering in Wednesday, many Indigenous organizations and ordinary Canadians alike took to Twitter to remember his contributions.

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