Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wept while remembering late Canadian music icon Gord Downie.
Downie, the longtime frontman of rock band The Tragically Hip and Canada’s unofficial poet laureate, died of brain cancer on Tuesday at age 53. Trudeau gave reporters an emotional, bilingual statement about his death on Wednesday morning, tears rolling down his cheeks all the while.
“Gord was my friend. Gord was everyone’s friend, it’s who we were,” Trudeau said. “Our buddy Gord, who loved this country with everything he had—and not just loved it in a nebulous, ‘Oh, I love Canada’ way. He loved every hidden corner, every story, every aspect of this country that he celebrated his whole life.”
Halfway through his statement, Trudeau became so emotional he had to pause his prepared remarks. “I thought I was going to make it through this, but I’m not,” he said. “It hurts.”
Watch Trudeau’s full address in the video above.