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21.09 18 Oct 2017


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Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken down in tears as he paid tribute to the lead singer of rock band Tragically Hip on national television.

Gord Downie, who had brain cancer, died on Tuesday at the age of 53.

An emotional Mr Trudeau, speaking in parliament in Ottawa, said "we are less as a country without Gord Downie in it".

He said: "We all knew it was coming but we hoped it wasn't.

"I thought I was going to make it through but I'm not. It hurts."

In a written statement, he added: "Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada. He was the frontman of one of Canada's most iconic bands, a rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country."

A statement on the band's website said he died "with his beloved children and family close by".

Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma - an aggressive and incurable brain cancer - in December 2015.

In a statement, his family said: "God knew this day was coming his response was to spend his precious time as he always had, making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived.

The band, which released its first album in 1987, has a huge following within Canada but has only had limited international success.

During his final show, Downie called out to Mr Trudeau, who was at the concert, to help fix problems in Canada's indigenous communities.

He is survived by his wife and four children.


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