Gord Downie Opens Up about Living with Cancer, Previews "The Stranger"

Gord Downie Opens Up about Living with Cancer, Previews "The Stranger"
Before trekking from coast-to-coast with the Tragically Hip on the Man Machine Poem tour this past summer, Gord Downie shocked the music community by revealing he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Now, Downie has spoken out about living with the condition for the first time since his diagnosis in an interview the CBC.

In a conversation with Peter Mansbridge that is set to air in full tonight (October 13), Downie spoke about his treatment and resulting memory loss, saying he at times struggles to remember the names of his four children. He also has been forced to write notes on his hands to remember things.

UPDATE (10/14, 11:45 a.m. EDT): You can now watch the full CBC interview at the bottom of the page.

"I can't remember hardly anything. I have, I have Peter written on my hand. I have things written, a few things written on my hands. And I say that, just to be up front. 'Cause I might call you Doug," Downie told Mansbridge.

"I am resigned to the direction this is heading, yes I am," he continued. "I really am and because I can see it and feel it doing some, not doing some good, but it's creating, it's creating something."

In the interview, Mansbridge and Downie also discussed the musician's forthcoming solo venture Secret Path, which is set to arrive this month. Ahead of tonight's airing, Downie revealed the first full song and chapter of Secret Path titled "The Stranger." The song has been paired with an animated video, presumably part of an accompanying animated special set to be aired on CBC on October 23.

As previously reported, Secret Path will arrive on October 18 through Arts & Crafts, where it will also be accompanied by a graphic novel. Proceeds will go to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, which is dedicated to educating Canadians about the history of residential schools and moving towards a future of reconciliation.

Along with the new track, Downie, his brother Mike and the Wenjack family have announced the formation of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, focused on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

"Generations grew up not hearing about what's happening in the North and in Indigenous communities everywhere. The next generation can't be raised the same way," Gord said in a statement. "It is my hope that the fund will do its part in starting to bridge some of the gaps that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities."

Mike added, "It's time for us to acknowledge and help the people we were trained to ignore. It's time to do something. This fund will help make this a reality and will act as a catalyst to forge relationships for reconciliation." 

Donations to the fund are now being accepted through the official website here. Further information on the fund can be found through their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Watch the video for "The Stranger" and a snippet of Downie's conversation with Mansbridge in the players below.

A Secret Path performance will take place at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on October 18. A second concert will take place at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on October 21.