Billboard Canada: Willo Downie Remembers Her Father, Gord Downie
For Gord Downie's daughter Willo, it's been difficult to grapple with the public perception of her father — who he was to the country and who he was to her. Pictured here as a baby with her father Gord Downie.
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On this day in 2017, Gord Downie died at the age of 53. The frontman for the iconic Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip left an undeniable mark on the country's cultural landscape and its charts. In the years since, his legacy has been dissected and cemented, with tributes coming in from Drake to Justin Trudeau. He was a champion of Indigenous reconciliation, a rock and roll poet, and one of the continent's best performers. He was a lot of things at once.
For Gord Downie's daughter Willo Downie, it's been difficult to grapple with the public perception of her father — who he was to the country and who he was to her. Six years since we lost him, she feels ready to reflect on the lessons he taught her and how it squares with the man the world knew through his music and writing. Now that she's establishing her own artistic career as a visual artist, Willo Downie feels grateful for the gift he gave her: a life of art, and of art as a way of life. — Billboard Canada digital editor Richard Trapunski
"To live is to create, and what a gift that is.
"The greatest gift we can give in thanks for our life is creation.
"I know and feel this deeply. My dad taught me.
"Six years after his death, I still grapple with the public’s perception of who my dad was. It often feels surreal and overwhelming to reconcile. To me, for so long, he was “just” my dad. King of my heart, as a young girl.
"But Gord Downie threw himself earnestly into each of the roles he filled — and they were many, beyond that of being a truly amazing father.
"I can recognize that more deeply as each year goes by and I grow older myself. My understanding of his legacy is a tapestry that will continue to weave itself into completion, forever... The story continues on Billboard Canada's website here.