Gordon Lightfoot Dead: Legendary Canadian Folk Singer Dies At 84

The folk icon Gordon Lightfoot passed away on Monday, May 1, at age 84. Get all the details here.

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Image Credit: Everett Collection

Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot tragically passed away at at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto at the age of 84, according to his longtime publicist Victoria Lord, who shared the news on his official Facebook account. A cause of death was not immediately available.

An iconic name in the folk music universe in the 1960s and 1970s, Gordon was commonly regarded as “Canada’s greatest songwriter,” according to the Winnipeg Free Press. With a career spanning over 50 years, he was known for hits such as “Early Morning Rain” and “If You Could Read My Mind,” and he recorded no less than 20 studio albums and wrote hundreds of songs. His sound mainly centered around his baritone voice accompanied by a 12-string guitar, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Gordon Lightfoot (Everett Collection)

Gordon, who served as an inspiration for such younger Canada-bred performers as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, revealed that he got into songwriting at the age of 17. “Once the folk revival broke in, and Bob Dylan arrived on the scene, I picked up a lot of momentum in my songwriting. It improved a lot, to the point where I was able to attain my first recording contract with United Artists, for whom I made five albums,” he said in a personal interview with American Songwriter, who also described him as “soft spoken and reflective.”

Bob Dylan once called him a “rare talent”, and dozens of artists like Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, Anne Murray, Jane’s Addiction, Sarah McLachlan and Stars on 54 have covered his work over the years.

Gordon Lightfoot (Manuel Nauta/Nurphoto/Shutterstock)

When it comes to his personal life, Gordon had been married three times, and is survived by six children. He also faced many health problems in his later years, including an abdominal aneurysm in 2002, and a stroke in 2006, according to The National PostNevertheless, he continued to perform. “At this age, my challenge is doing the best show I can,” he said in a 2016 interview with Canadian Press.