Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.
The Tragically Hip frontman was diagnosed in December and the band posted the tragic news on its website Tuesday morning.
The head of neurology at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital called it a ‘very aggressive form of brain cancer’ known as a Glioblastoma.
“It is my difficult duty today to tell you that Gord Downie’s brain tumour is incurable,” said Dr. James Perry who added the singer suffered a seizure, which prompted him to seek treatment in the first place.
The tumour was found on the left side of his brain and Downie has had radiation and chemotherapy treatment in the months since.
“In the last several weeks (Downie) has rallied tremendously,” Dr. Perry said.
“In fact last week he had a very important MRI scan of the brain that showed that all of the swelling in his head, in the left temporal lobe area has decreased substantially and the amount of tumour that we see residual has clearly shrunk and he’s doing very well.”
Dr. Perry has cleared Downie to tour with the band this summer. The details are to be announced Wednesday morning.
Dr. Perry added that while he does not anticipate any short-term medical issues during the tour, the effects tumour ‘will unfortunately one day come back’ and ‘there is no way to buy your way out of this’.
“It’s too early right now in Gord’s trajectory to understand what his prognosis is,” said Dr. Perry referencing similar cases in US Senator Ted Kennedy and the son of US Vice President Joe Biden, Beau Biden.
“For most of my patients it’s daunting to actually reveal your diagnosis, not only to family – how do I tell me kids; how do I deal with this with my coworkers – let alone somebody that is truly a national treasure,” said Dr. Perry.
The Hip’s 14th studio album, ‘Man Machine Poem’, will be released on June 14th. The band’s manager said the album was largely completed prior to Downie learning about the tumour.
Gord Downie is a true original who has been writing Canada’s soundtrack for more than 30 years. #Courage— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 24, 2016
So we must honour the people we love + let them know everyday. Gord we're feeling helpless, but we are here for you. At your command, fella.— ARKELLS (@arkellsmusic) May 24, 2016
Thoughts are of Gord Downie today— Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) May 24, 2016
Family & road family
Thx for having me on Roadside
& 4 letting me tag along with U to Madison Square XO RS
Full Statement From The Tragically Hip
We have some very tough news to share with you today, and we wish it wasn’t so.
A few months ago, in December, Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Since then, obviously, he’s 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…
We’ve decided to do another one.
This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us.
What we in The Hip receive, each time we play together, is a connection; 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.
We hope you can come out and join us this summer – details and dates will be coming this week.
And we sincerely thank all of you, for your continued love and support,
Paul, GordD, Johnny, Rob, GordS