10/18/2017 15:08 EDT | Updated 10/18/2017 16:01 EDT

'They Inspire Everything': Gord Downie Shielded His Children From The Spotlight

But what the late singer revealed in personal anecdotes is heartbreaking.

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Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip performs onstage during their 'Man Machine Poem Tour' at Rogers Arena on July 24, 2016 in Vancouver.

Tragically Hip frontman and Canadian icon Gord Downie lived his life in the spotlight as a musician, as an advocate for Indigenous issues, and as a champion for brain cancer research all while steadfastly shielding his four children from the public eye.

Downie, 53, died Tuesday night of glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. His children were by his side, according to a statement released by The Tragically Hip.

Other than the fact that he had four of them, fans knew little about Downie's children a rarity for such a well-known public figure. Only very occasionally would Downie share a personal anecdote about his family life.