R.I.P. Gordon Lightfoot: 1938-2023

Gordon Lightfoot
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Gordon Lightfoot
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Photo Credit: Arnielee (CC BY-SA 3.0

Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot passed away from natural causes on Monday evening (May 1st). He was 84.

Legendary musician Gordon Lightfoot passed away just hours ago, according to a statement issued by the family. The Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist, whose songs remain recognizable classics decades later, died from natural causes at age 84 in Toronto.

“It is with profound sadness that we confirm that Gordon Meredith Lightfoot has passed away,” Lightfoot’s family shared in an official statement. “Gordon died peacefully on Monday, May 1, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He died of natural causes; he was 84 years old.

“He is survived by his wife Kim Hasse, six children– Fred, Ingrid, Eric, Galen, Miles and Meredith, as well as several grandchildren.”

Gordon Lightfoot emerged from the folk-infused 60s with a knack for catchy songwriting and poetic lyricism. His multi-decade career traversed rock and pop and produced a number of chart-topping hits, including “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” among many others. Lightfoot won more than a dozen Juno awards in Canada and was nominated for five Grammy Awards in the US.

Lightfoot’s catalog included more than 200 songs, and his compositions were often covered by other notable artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams Jr., and the Grateful Dead. Lightfoot also played the role of songwriter for other artists: he penned “For Lovin’ Me” and “Early Morning Rain,” both of which became well-known tracks for Peter, Paul & Mary.

“I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like. Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever,” Bob Dylan once remarked.

News of Gordon Lightfoot’s death spread quickly on Monday evening, with several notable figures chiming in.

“What a genius Gordon Lightfoot was. His music is such a big part of my life. Rest in peace. Grateful for the inspiration he gave all of us,” Ben Stiller remarked.

Perhaps fittingly, Stephen King remembered one of Lightfoot’s more sinister and dark songs. “Gordon Lightfoot has died. He was a great songwriter and a wonderful performer,” the horror novelist wrote. “Sundown, you better take care/If I catch you creepin’ ’round my back stairs.”

Back in Gordon’s native Canada, some flags may be flown at half-mast to commemorate the singer’s life. Funeral details remain unannounced, and it’s unclear if a public ceremony will take place.