Gordon Lightfoot, Legendary Folk Singer-Songwriter, Dead at 84

Gordon Lightfoot performs in concert at Ocean City Music Pier on July 18, 2022 in Ocean City, New Jersey.
Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

The late artist was perhaps best known for his 1970 hit, "If You Could Read My Mind."

Canadian folk-rock icon Gordon Lightfoot has died at the age of 84.

Lightfoot died at a Toronto hospital on Monday night of natural causes, his publicist told the Associated Press

The late artist was perhaps best known for his 1970 hit, "If You Could Read My Mind." Among his other chart-toppers were "Sundown," "Carefree Highway," "Rainy Day People," and "The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald." Through the span of his career, Lightfoot recorded 20 studio albums and wrote hundreds of songs.

"I simply write the songs about where I am and where I'm from," he once said, according to AP. "I take situations and write poems about them."

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau was among those paying tribute to Lightfoot in the wake of his death, tweeting: "We have lost one of our greatest singer-songwriters. Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape. May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy live on forever. To his family, friends, and many fans across the country and around the world: I’m keeping you in my thoughts at this difficult time." 

Author Stephen King also paid his respects. 

"Gordon Lightfoot has died. He was a great songwriter and a wonderful performer," he shared, posting a set of poignant lyrics. "Sundown, you better take care/If I catch you creepin' 'round my back stairs."

Lightfoot's songs have been covered by several legendary artists, including Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Barbra Streisand and Eric Clapton, according to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1986.

A four-time GRAMMY nominee, he was also the subject of a 2020 documentary, Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind

In 2003, Lightfoot was also bestowed one of his country’s highest civilian honors, the Companion of the Order of Canada.