Downie's work also led to him being appointed a member of the Order of Canada in June of this year; he was hailed by Governor General David Johnston for his devotion to "promoting dialogue about residential schools and working towards reconciliation".
In May 2016, Downie revealed to the public that he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
According to a statement from his bandmates, he died on Tuesday night Canadian time, surrounded by his family.
Continued the statement: "Gord knew this day was coming - his response was to spend this precious time as he always had - making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss on the lips".
In August 2016, Downie used the occasion of The Tragically Hip's last ever concert to draw attention to the plight of First Nations communities, telling the crowd that he believed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - who was in the audience - was the right person to further the Indigenous cause. And he wanted to make it better, " Trudeau said in Ottawa. "He knew, as great as we were, we needed to be better than we are", he added.
The city demonstrated its love for Downie previous year when it set up giant screens in Gage Park to broadcast the Hip's final concert on CBC.
One of the country's most revered singer-songwriters, Downie penned a steady stream of 1990s rock radio staples including "New Orleans Is Sinking", "Blow at High Dough", "Courage", "Ahead By a Century" and "Bobcaygeon".
"Gord said he had lived many lives", it continued.
"I think they should really consider it, I really do", he said. They have received numerous Canadian music awards, including 14 Juno awards, the equivalent of the Grammy in Canada.
"Swift rebirth Gord Downie", singer K.D. Lang said in a Twitter message.
"The Tragically Hip's music invited us to explore places we had never been - from Mistaken Point to Churchill - and helped us understand each other, while capturing the complexity and vastness of the place we call home", the statement said.
Downie's final solo album "Introduce Yerself" is scheduled to be released posthumously on October 27.