Iconic Canadian folk singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot has died. He was 84.
The singer’s death was confirmed via his official Facebook page today (May 2). “Gordon Lightfoot passed away this evening in a Toronto hospital at 7:30 p.m. More info to come,” the statement read. A cause of death has not been revealed at the time of publishing.
Gordon Lightfoot passed away this evening in a Toronto hospital at 7:30 p.m. More info to come..
Posted by Gordon Lightfoot on Monday, May 1, 2023
Lightfoot’s death comes less than a month after he announced the cancellation of his 2023 United States and Canada tour. “The singer is currently experiencing some health related issues and is unable to confirm rescheduled dates at this time,” his team wrote in a statement posted to his social media accounts.
Posted by Gordon Lightfoot on Tuesday, April 11, 2023
The cancelled tour would have seen Lightfoot perform 16 shows across Arizona, California and Florida between late April and September, with a long Canadian date in Ontario in October.
Lightfoot first broke onto the music scene in 1962 and would go on to be a stalwart in the folk-rock circuit, becoming responsible for some of the genre’s biggest hits over the next two decades.
In 1972, Lightfoot was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which resulted in the left side of his face being partially paralysed for a period of time. While the illness meant Lightfoot would have to hit pause on touring, he continued to write and record music.
Lightfoot’s music was celebrated by many, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, Anne Murray and more, all of whom have covered Lightfoot’s songs.
Gordon Lightfoot received five Grammy nominations throughout his career and won 17 Juno awards. In 1986, Bob Dylan inducted Lightfoot into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame at that year’s Juno Awards.
Following the news of Lightfoot’s death, tributes have begun pouring in on social media, led by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who wrote: “Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape. May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy live on forever.”
We have lost one of our greatest singer-songwriters. Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape. May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy live on forever. To his family,…
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 2, 2023
Stephen King has also paid tribute to the late Canadian singer-songwriter, writing on Twitter: “He was a great songwriter and a wonderful perform.”
Gordon Lightfoot has died. He was a great songwriter and a wonderful performer. Sundown, you better take care/If I catch you creepin’ ’round my back stairs.”
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 2, 2023
See more tributes to Gordon Lightfoot from Belinda Carlisle, Tommy Chong and more below.
In 2019, I recorded a cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting “If You Could Read My Mind” for my Runaway Horses 30th Anniversary box set. https://t.co/ACT4InvEJt
It’s one of my favorite songs.
RIP #gordonlightfoot pic.twitter.com/s6cRWFh9Jx
— Belinda Carlisle 💙 (@belindacarlisle) May 2, 2023
I have always been a fan of Gordon Lightfoot. Loved his music and admired him for being a righteous dude. RIP my fellow Canadian
— Tommy Chong (@tommychong) May 2, 2023
Your poetry and melodies are an eternal inspiration. Rest in peace now, Gordon Lightfoot. pic.twitter.com/cF2g0emYey
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) May 2, 2023
Gordon Lightfoot left us today..
When Bob Dylan reveres you & turns to you when he needs to,you know you’re dealing with brilliance. From Canada,Mr. Lightfoot became the Mark Twain of folk music.Trains,rivers, loneliness,romance.His songs were covered by just about everybody RIP. pic.twitter.com/ybA6RrdKR9
— Michael Des Barres (@MDesbarres) May 2, 2023