Gordon Lightfoot, iconic Canadian singer-songwriter, dead at 84 — rest in peace

Gordon Lightfoot, the folk singer-songwriter who was regarded as one of Canada’s most iconic musicians, has died at 84.

Lightfoot achieved his greatest international success in the 1970s, with hits like “If You Could Read My Mind” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and several platinum-selling albums.

The news was announced on Lightfoot’s Facebook page, announcing he died at a Toronto hospital on Monday evening. No further details were given.

Born November 17, 1938 in Ontario, Canada, Lightfoot began performing music at a young age and broke through as a songwriter in the 1960s: acts like Peter, Paul and Mary and Marty Robbins recorded his songs.

His debut album Lightfoot! was released in 1966, launching him to music stardom.

He achieved international fame in the 1970s with hit songs like “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway” and “Rainy Day People,” securing his place as one of his generation’s folk music superstars.

Lightfoot was especially well-regarded in his native Canada: he has been called “Canada’s Bard,” a national hero and one of the country’s all-time greatest songwriters.

Many of his songs, like “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” are based on Canadian history.

“He is our poet laureate, he is our iconic singer-songwriter,” said Rush singer Geddy Lee in the 2019 documentary Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, per CBC.

Lightfoot was also acclaimed by his fellow musicians in the folk music scene. His songs were widely covered by a variety of major artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Barbra Streisand.

“I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like,” Bob Dylan once said. “Everytime I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever…. Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time. I think he probably still is to this day.”

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