Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian singer-songwriter whose work included the timeless folk anthems “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Sundown,” passed away on Monday. He was 84.
Victoria Lord, a representative for the hospital, stated that Lightfoot passed away around 7:30 p.m. at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto due to natural causes.
His passing comes a little less than a month after he called off a concert that was due to take place on April 11 in the United States and Canada. According to a post made on Facebook, the reason for the cancellation was “health-related issues.”
In 1970, Lightfoot achieved commercial success in the United States with the song “If You Could Read My Mind.” The musician was also nominated for a Grammy for best male pop vocal performance for the track, which was the second of his four total nominations.
His ballad “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” which was released in 1976 and was about the loss of a cargo ship in the Great Lakes, hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts. Among their other hits was the song “Carefree Highway.”
In a tweet sent out late on Monday evening to express his condolences, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, referred to the folk star as “one of our greatest singer-songwriters.”
In his music, Gordon Lightfoot was able to capture the spirit of our nation, and by doing so, he contributed to the development of the musical landscape in Canada. “May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy endure for all time,” Trudeau wrote in his tribute to Prince.
Lightfoot was the recipient of 13 prestigious Juno awards out of a total of 29 nominations. These awards were granted by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. In addition, Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1986.
In addition to this, in 2003, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, which is one of the highest civilian distinctions that can be granted in his country.
Lightfoot, who was born in Orillia, Ontario, in 1938, has cited Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan as two of the most important musical influences on his career.
According to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, several of Lightfoot’s songs have been covered by well-known performers such as Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, and Barbra Streisand. Eric Clapton is another among those who have performed Lightfoot’s compositions.
A documentary titled “Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind” will premiere in 2020 and analyze his life as well as his legacy.
In the documentary, Lightfoot is quoted as saying, “I was disturbed by the fact that almost nobody had anything negative to say about me.”
Even though he is universally recognized as an icon, Lightfoot expressed to The Globe and Mail in 2008 that he did not feel completely at ease with the title.
“Because I don’t consider myself to be an icon, there are occasions when it baffles me why people refer to me in that way. I am a professional musician, and the other people I collaborate with are all extremely professional. According to what he said to the publication, “It’s how we get through life.”