Published Dec 19, 2017Gord Downie was named Newsmaker of the Year by the Canadian Press last year, and he's done it again in 2017.
While his public appearances were limited throughout 2017, his death, legacy and the outpouring of grief from fans across the country dominated headlines once again this year.
Early on in 2017, Downie appeared onstage with Blue Rodeo and the Sadies at Massey Hall. He also made headlines for hanging out with Drake courtside at a Raptors game in May.
In June, Downie and the Tragically Hip were appointed to the Order of Canada for their contributions to Canadian music. Some of the band's legendary career was even captured in a new documentary released this year, titled Long Time Running (available on DVD and Blu-ray and in a deluxe box set edition through Umusic).
Following the release of Secret Path in 2016, Downie announced the arrival of another solo album, Introduce Yerself. The LP was released mere days after Downie passed away in October.
News of Downie's death wasn't a complete shock, following his diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, but the loss reverberated around the world. Many musicians, friends and public figures — including a tearful Justin Trudeau — paid their respects to the Tragically Hip frontman on social media and with tribute performances.
The title of Newsmaker of the Year has been awarded each year since 1946, often to political figures, though athletes, criminals and soldiers have also received the label.
Downie remains the only entertainer to ever been given the title. He now joins the likes of Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Terry Fox and Rick Hansen as one of just a few Canadians to be named Newsmaker of the Year more than once.