TORONTO — Gordon Lightfoot, Canada’s legendary folk singer-songwriter whose hits include “Early Morning Rain” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” died on Monday, a representative of his family said. He was 84.
Representative Victoria Lord said the musician died at a Toronto hospital. His cause of death was not immediately available.
The Orillia, Ontario native rose to fame in the early 1960s after a move to Toronto opened doors in the thriving Yorkville music scene, and hooked him up with fellow folk musician Ian and Sylvia Tyson. They became great admirers of his work and covered two of his tracks.
His 1965 debut album “Lightfoot!” ushered in a new folk voice and by the turn of the decade he eased rather effortlessly into the pop scene, making his first appearance on the Billboard chart with 1971’s “If You Could Read My Mind.”
Lightfoot’s popularity peaked in the mid-1970s when both his single and album “Sundown” topped Billboard — his first and only time doing so.
But his chart positions did little to slow him down in the final decades of his career when he built a reputation as one of the stalwart road musicians, in spite of various health challenges.