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article imageTragically Hip singer Gord Downie has incurable brain cancer

By Marcus Hondro     May 24, 2016 in Music
Gord Downie, the singer of The Tragically Hip, has been stricken with an incurable form of brain cancer, it was announced today. Despite his illness, however, Downie and the band intend to tour this summer.
Tragically Hip tour
Downie, 52, has a form of cancer called glioblastoma, a leading cancer killer of Canadians between the ages of 40 to 60. The first sign was a seizure he suffered while walking down a sidewalk in his hometown of Kingston, Ont. in December. Taken to emergency, tests revealed his illness.
The Hip, Canada's most iconic rock band, made the announcement of the illness today, May 24, on both their Facebook page and website, telling fans that since his diagnosis Downie has "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..." the notice said. "We’ve decided to do another one. This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us."
The notice added that details of the tour would be forthcoming this week.
Tumours reduced
Also on Tuesday, Downie's neuro-oncologist, Dr. James Perry, spoke to media at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto about the singer's illness. He said chemo treatment and surgery has reduced Downie's tumours and shown his glioblastoma to be a strain that will respond to treatment.
That means there is hope for a longer survival period, Dr. Perry said, but the disease will still end his life. He did not, however, say how long he feels Downie will live but he did say that, at this stage, the cancer should not affect Downie's ability to sing and perform.
"These primary brain tumours are infiltrative by nature so they're impossible to completely remove by surgery (and) they frequently recur," he said. "It is my difficult duty today to tell you that Gord Downie's brain tumour is incurable."
The band, noted for hits such as "Blow at High Dough," "New Orleans is Sinking" and "At the Hundredth Meridian," has been active since 1984. Known for his high-energy performances and quirky stage-dancing, Downie wrote most of the band's songs
On their website, The Tragically Hip, who have a new album, Man Machine Poem, scheduled to be released in June, promised to make this 2016 tour, likely their final one, their best.
"What we in The Hip receive, each time we play together, is a connection," their website reads. "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."
Downie, a father of four, has yet to speak publicly about his illness.
Digital Journal featured Gord Downie in the ‘INSPIRE’ section of its printed edition in 2005.
Digital Journal featured Gord Downie in the ‘INSPIRE’ section of its printed edition in 2005.
© Digital Journal Magazine
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