Gord Downie—lead singer of the long-running Canadian rock quintet The Tragically Hip—has announced that he’s been diagnosed with incurable brain cancer, but that he doesn’t intend to let it stop him from touring with the band. Downie made the announcement on the band’s web site earlier today, along with news that The Tragically Hip would be starting a new Canadian tour this summer, in support of its 14th studio album.
Further details came courtesy of a press conference held later today with Downie’s doctor, James Perry, and the band’s manager, Patrick Sambrook. According to Perry, Downie has been diagnosed with an invasive type of brain tumor known as glioblastoma—the same kind of cancer that killed Ted Kennedy and Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau. However, Downie’s instance of the disease is apparently more responsive to treatment than most, even if it can never actually be cured. The singer has “a significantly higher chance of longer-term survival,” according to his doctor, who signed off on his going out on tour with the band.
The Tragically Hip first formed in 1984, and have played and toured together regularly for more than 30 years, climbing to the upper echelons of the Canadian rock scene. Their last album, 2012’s Now For Plan A, was a modest success, earning a by-now-customary warm welcome in their native land. Their next album, Man Machine Poem, is due out on June 17.