The death of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has sparked an outpouring of tributes and condolences from Montreal fans and musicians.

Downie, who had an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer called glioblastoma, died Tuesday night at the age of 53.

When long-time fan Joe Di Pasquale heard one of the Hip's songs for the first time, he instantly fell in love with their music — they had "something special" that set them apart.

"Gord was definitely a showman," Di Pasquale told CBC's Radio Noon.

"And he really represented something different at far as Canadian artists were concerned, especially stage presence and what not."​

While Downie was diagnosed in 2015 and the band's final concert in Kingston was in August 2016, his passing still came as a shock to many.

"I was devastated, I was surprised, I was crying," said Brendan Kelly, a columnist with the Montreal Gazette and a contributor to the CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"There is some kind of incredible connection that Gord Downie has with us."


Gord Downie has died at the age of 53. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

While the Hip doesn't have the same following in Quebec as it does compared to other provinces, Downie's poetic lyrics and memorable spirit resonated with many fans.

"There are few songs that you listen to and, you know, I'll get more emotional now that he's gone and they're not playing anymore," said Brian Smith.​

'He never really showed off'

Randy Renault, a DJ at CHOM radio station, said that Downie had a bit of a sly grin and presence on the stage but that he was always humble.

"Personally, Gord Downie, I always loved the way he carried himself," he said. "He never really showed off."

"You always knew there was a lot more there beneath the surface."

Montrealers also took to social media to share their memories of Downie and to bid a final farewell. One fan recounted how Downie's music touched her life.

The Canadian poet and musician's life was also remembered by Montreal celebrities like the band Stars and actor Jay Baruchel, who publicly issued condolences and shared stories about Downie.

With files from CBC's Radio Noon and Nav Pall