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Rush comments on the passing of The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie

Wed, Oct 18, 2017@11:21AM | comments

UPDATE - 10/19@9:43AM: Geddy Lee comments on Downie in this National Post article (thanks RushFanForever):

"He's a national hero," said Rush frontman Geddy Lee. "There are lots of different ways that people handle this kind of thing and mostly, if you look at people like David Bowie, et cetera, how they handled their illnesses, they chose to handle it very quietly - and he did not. "He wanted to go out doing what he loved to do, and trying to do as much good with the time he had left, so for me that's a courageous act." ... "Quite frankly this has hit me pretty hard," added Lee, pausing for a moment so he wouldn't cry. "I think when we saw him up there (on stage) we thought he could beat the devil. To wake up to that news (of his death) just reminds us of how vulnerable we all are. "It's a terrible loss for this country and it's a terrible loss to what Canadian music is. It's a profound loss of an amazing person."

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Gord Downie of beloved Canadian band The Tragically Hip quietly passed away last night at the age of 53 after a long battle with brain cancer. Downie revealed his cancer diagnosis early last year, prompting The Hip to embark on one last tour to say farewell to their fans. The Hip played their final show on that tour to a sold-out crowd at the Rogers K-Rock arena in the band's hometown of Kingston back in August. The CBC broadcast the show live, triggering an impromptu national holiday across Canada. Rush have always been big fans of The Hip, who opened for them back in the early 1990s. Geddy Lee attended one of The Hip's shows on this final tour, calling it "an incredibly heartfelt and moving experience, one I shall never forget". Rush commented on Downie's passing earlier this morning via this Instagram post:

The CBC sat down with Geddy Lee back in August for a series of short video interviews to talk about The Hip and their place in the history of Canadian music. Geddy discusses the distinct Canadian-ness of the band, when The Hip opened for Rush in the early '90s, his favorite Hip album, their cover of Rush's Limelight and more. Here's some of what Geddy had to say:

"The first time you listen to one of their records it kind of sneaks up on you," Lee says. "It sounds simpler than it is. There is a particular way the power of those guitars work together.... [They] always sound sinewy and muscular. Then you put Gord's voice and his lyrics on top of that, and after repeated listening, you really start to love it. It just gets inside you. I think that's a trademark of the Hip."

And here's Ged talking about when The Hip opened for Rush: