The Tragically Hip played their final concert as cancer-stricken frontman Gord Downie paid an emotional goodbye to fans on Saturday night (20Aug16).
The Canadian band took the stage in their native Kingston, Ontario for the last stop on their Man MAChine Poem farewell tour, as terminally-ill Downie battles brain cancer.
The 52-year-old, who came forward with his diagnosis in May (16), wiped away tears from his eyes in the middle of the concert. By the end of the three-hour gig, the band played an unprecedented third encore, with Downie saying, "We're officially into uncharted waters. We never do third ones."
Downie also gave a special shout out to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was on hand to say goodbye to the beloved band in person. Prior to the start of the concert, the politician took to Twitter to pay tribute to Downie and his group, writing, "On behalf of Canadians, I thank Gord Downie and the Hip for their decades of service to Canadian music. Forever in our hearts and playlists."
The event, which was broadcast live across Canada, coincided with The Tragically Hip Day.
Meanwhile, as Downie was on stage, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder paid tribute to his pal during their own show in Chicago, Illinois.
"There’s something going on north of the border tonight and it involves somebody who we consider a family member just because he's part of the group of touring musicians that we’ve met over the years."
"We were all informed of some sad news that he had a really tough form of brain cancer,” Vedder continued. "He was very courageous and decided to take The Tragically Hip out on one last tour and tonight’s the last night of that run. So they're up there, going through the emotions up there. I just want to send them our energy from our gathering up to their gathering up there, and wish the best to Mr. Gord Downie. We love you."
The rocker then led the band in a tribute performance of their track Light Years.
Downie formed the legendary band with guitarist Rob Baker in 1984. They scored nine number one albums and six top 10 songs in their home country.
Man MAChine Poem, the band’s most recent album, was released in June (16).