Visibly shaken, Trudeau praised Downie and the music he created with his band, noting the impact he had on Canadians from coast to coast.
“Gord was my friend,” said a tearful Trudeau. “But he was everyone’s friend … our buddy Gord, who loved this country with everything he had. And not just with a nebulous ‘Oh, I love Canada’ way, he loved every hidden corner, every story, every aspect of this country that he celebrated his whole life.”
Trudeau and Downie were friends, indeed. The pair had many notable public meetings and shared many hugs.
During the Tragically Hip’s final show in Kingston, Ont., in August of 2016, Downie thanked Trudeau from the concert stage before the music began.
“Thank you to the prime minister for coming to our show,” he said to the crowd. “It really means a lot, to all of us. He’s going to be looking good for about at least 12 more years, I don’t know if they let you go much more beyond that … we’re in real good hands, folks.”
(You can watch Trudeau’s tribute in the video, above.)