Both artists honored Downie for his role in elevating Canadian popular music. “Rest In Peace,” Young wrote on Facebook. “You have always been a true Canadian artist. My condolences to your whole family and all of Canada. What a great gift of music you have left here for us all.”
Drake struck a similar theme, posting a photo taken with Downie earlier this year at a Toronto Raptors playoff game on Instagram. “Rest In Peace legend,” the rapper wrote. “So glad we got to meet and have this conversation. You will be forever treasured by this country and missed by the world.” He finished his post with the Canadian flag emoji.
Young and Drake follow Feist, another Canadian artist who paid tribute to Downie on Wednesday with a cover of his song “The Stranger.” “I admired so much his honest way of communicating what he saw and the courage and conviction he searched with,” she wrote on Twitter.
Downie was diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2015 and revealed his disease to the public in May 2016. “Gord knew this day was coming – his response was to spend this precious time as he always had – making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss … on the lips,” his family wrote in a statement after his death.
Downie’s final LP – a double album produced by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew – is due out October 27th.