Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip is going on tour this summer for what could be the last time. In a statement Tuesday, the band says lead singer and songwriter Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in December. Even so, the 52-year-old father of four—whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011—plans to continue to join his bandmates of 30 years on stage. "He's endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard," the band says, per the CBC. But "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 its magic."
The CBC calls Downie "one of the country's greatest songwriters, his lyrics giving a voice to Canada's land, its history and, at times, its official winter sport." In addition to hits like New Orleans is Sinking, he's known for his moves, with a columnist once commenting that a Downie performance "yields, easily, 100 or more separate dance moves; such is the spontaneous genius of one of the most captivating frontmen in Canadian music." A fan on Facebook adds, per the Toronto Star, "he's not the voice of a band, he's the voice of our country." The Tragically Hip signed to MCA in 1987 and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005. The band's 13th studio album, Man Machine Poem, is due out June 14; tour dates have yet to be announced. (Read more music stories.)