Last week, the legendary singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot died at the age of 84. One of the most successful folk artists of his era and a Canadian national hero, countless fans grieved at his passing.
A memorial service for the musician was held on May 7 — and in a heartwarming sight, one old friend gathered by his side.
Lightfoot, whose hit songs include “Sundown” and “If You Could Read My Mind,” was memorialized at St. Paul’s United Church in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario, Canada.
The singer, who stayed true to his Canadian roots even as he achieved international stardom, reportedly requested that his funeral be held at the Orilla church, where he sang in the choir as a teenager.
“He is the one that wanted it to be here, in this church that he grew up in,” St. Paul’s choir director Blair Bailey told CTV News.
Lightfoot’s funeral yesterday was reportedly a small, private affair with 50 close friends and family members attending, but local fans had an opportunity to pay their respects at a public visitation on Sunday.
Those who did witnessed a bittersweet moment as an unexpected mourner curled up by the late musician’s side: a dog named Taurus.
According to Lightfoot’s longtime publicist Victoria Lord, Taurus belongs to one of Lightfoot’s tour people, and they bonded while on the road together.
“He used to go on the road with him and wait for Gordon side stage,” Victoria Lord told Newsner. “Gordon loved dogs.”
It’s not uncommon for dogs, loyal til the very end, to lay by the graves or caskets of their departed loved ones — a heartbreaking, bittersweet tribute.
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals. Taurus may not have been Lightfoot’s own pet, but it’s clear they had a real bond and the dog will miss him a lot.
Gordon Lightfoot died on May 1 at the age of 84. The news was first reported via the musician’s Facebook page; he reportedly died of natural causes.
Lightfoot achieved his greatest international success in the 1970s, with hits like “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Several of his albums went platinum.
One of his generation’s folk music superstars, Lightfoot was widely respected by his fellow musicians and regarded as a national hero in his native Canada.
“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.
“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.”
“Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter after Lightfoot’s passing, calling him “one of our greatest singer-songwriters.”