On Wednesday morning, the country was thrown into a state of grief and mourning after news broke that The Tragically Hip’s enigmatic frontman Gord Downie had passed away. Downie had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in May 2016 and spent his final months with this family, working on his album and book Secret Path, the upcoming solo record Introduce Yerself, and continuing his fight to reconcile Canadian First Nations people’s past.
To honour Gord Downie, CTV has moved up the broadcast premiere of Long Time Running, the stunning documentary that followed Downie and his bandmates as The Tragically Hip set out across Canada on their goodbye tour in the summer of 2016. Receiving its official debut at TIFF in September, Long Time Running will now air on Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.
Following Wednesday’s news of Downie’s passing, many fans took to social media to send their condolences to Downie’s family and share their memories and stories about what one of Canada’s most prolific artists meant to them. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was moved to tears when remembering ‘our buddy Gord,’ delivering a beautiful tribute speech for for one of Canada’s greatest poets.
Drake shared a memory of a special conversation he had with Downie.
Free the Children founder Craig Kielburger remembered Gord, who performed at WE Day both solo and with The Tragically Hip.
Gord Downie’s passion for Indigenous reconciliation inspired a generation. Your legacy lives on through all those you inspire to action. pic.twitter.com/C98Yeqse0k
— Craig Kielburger (@craigkielburger) October 18, 2017
Canadian musician Jann Arden kept her tweet simple and somber.
— jann arden (@jannarden) October 18, 2017
Neil Young called Downie a “true Canadian artist.”
Former Much VJs paid their respects on social. Rick Campanelli remembered started his career at Much by throwing to a song by The Hip.
— Rick Campanelli (@RickACampanelli) October 18, 2017
Former Much VJ Erica Ehm also shared her grief over the loss of Downie, who saw the ‘regular dude’ as a literal rainbow.
It was the strangest thing. My husband and I were just in our bathroom when we heard the news that Gord Downie had passed. At that exact moment a rainbow showed up on the bathroom wall. (Swipe left). We’ve lived in our home for 18 years and have NEVER seen that before. Gord shone brightly right to the end. He’s more than Tragically Hip. He’s a regular Canadian dude who decided to leave the world a better place than he found it. That’s how I will remember him. As a Canadian dude who shone so bright it reflected back to me in bold colours of a .
Fellow former Much VJ George Stromboulopoulos remembered Gord as someone who always made people feel special.
— Stroumblopoulos (@strombo) October 19, 2017
Actor Seth Rogen paid his respects on social media.
RIP Gord Downie.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) October 18, 2017
Artist Jeff Lemire, who illustrated Downie’s 2016 book Secret Path, shared a beautiful illustration of his friend Gord.
Former NHL player and fellow Kingston native Doug Gilmour honoured the way Gord touched Canadians with his music.
Heartbroken today. Few Canadians touched this country like Gord Downie. Thank you for everything you gave us. My deepest condolences. pic.twitter.com/00DdU6IVZn
— Doug Gilmour (@DougGilmour93) October 18, 2017
Sportsnet contributor Ryan McKenna shared beautiful pictures of fans lighting candles in Bobcaygeon.
Residents of Bobcaygeon light candles in memory of Gord Downie. Under the constellations, of course. pic.twitter.com/7olhTgtVtR
— Ryan McKenna (@RyanBMcKenna) October 18, 2017
Politician and TV personality Seamus O’Reagan shared the beautiful obituary for Gord in the New York Times.
This description of Gord Downie from his obituary in the New York Times is everything. pic.twitter.com/HgSNPEe6Uq
— Seamus O’Regan (@SeamusORegan) October 18, 2017
Downie’s hometown of Kingston came together to honour their hero on Wednesday night.
Community remembering Gord. pic.twitter.com/UefpNlQRzq
— City of Kingston (@cityofkingston) October 18, 2017
The Toronto Maple Leafs honoured one of the country’s greatest poets with a poetic goodbye.
To the man who told the stories of a game, a people and a country.
Thank you, Gord. pic.twitter.com/JUyu51RMcV
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 18, 2017
The NHL also paid tribute to Gord, who along with The Tragically Hip created the soundtrack for dressing rooms.
The soundtrack of car rides to practices, bus trips to tournaments, and dressing rooms across Canada. Hockey was a part of you and you will always be a part of hockey. Thank you, Gord Downie. pic.twitter.com/kHj8iPlUa4
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) October 18, 2017
Stars singer Torq Campbell said that “we believed in Gord because he believed in us.”
art is only made in an exchange. we believed in gord because he believed in us. keep doing that. keep having faith in art. it might save us.
— torqcampbell (@torquilcampbell) October 19, 2017
Toronto Mayor John Tory had the Toronto sign turn red and white on Wednesday night to honour Downie.
The Toronto sign is red and white tonight in memory of Gord Downie. pic.twitter.com/4uUZw4Vog6
— John Tory (@JohnTory) October 19, 2017
Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay remembered Downie as ‘such a nice guy.’
You’ll be missed Gord. Canadian legend and such a nice guy.
— Rosh Jamsay (@JoshRamsay) October 18, 2017
Leader of the NDP Party Jasmeet Singh honoured Downie, who showed people courage in the face of adversity.
Gord Downie is a legend who transcended entertainment and showed us all what courage in the face of adversity looks like. Thank you, Gord
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) October 18, 2017
Arkells promised to remain inspired by Downie.
Thank you Gord. You’ll never stop inspiring us.
— ARKELLS (@arkellsmusic) October 18, 2017
Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds thanked Downie for his art.
So long, Gord. Thank you. https://t.co/hFG1ujudez
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) October 18, 2017
Rapper Chuck D paid his respects to Downie on Twitter.
Rest in Music Gord Downie @thehipdotcom The Tragically Hip salutes
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) October 18, 2017
Writer, director and lover of all things Canada, Kevin Smith tweeted about Downie’s passing.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) October 18, 2017
Paula Abdul remembers Downie as an “extraordinary human being.”
I’m so sorry Gord Downie has passed. He was a passionate activist, a wonderful artist &an extraordinary human being. He’ll be sorely missed.
— Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) October 18, 2017
Fellow Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot said Canada has lost one of its bright stars.
I’m truly saddened by the news of Gord Downie’s passing. Canada has lost one of its bright stars. He will be missed but not forgotten.
— Gordon Lightfoot (@Lightfoot365) October 18, 2017