Karl Tremblay, the singer of Cowboys Fringants, died at the age of 47 from cancer, the members of the Quebec group announced on Facebook on Wednesday, causing great emotion in the French-speaking Canadian province. “It is with indescribable sadness that we announce Karl’s departure. He was an exemplary warrior in the face of illness and a model for us all,” wrote his scene partners.
The Shooting Stars, America is Weeping: in a quarter of a century of career, the Cowboys Fringants had become a real social phenomenon in Quebec and a group also well known to the general public in France, where they regularly performed. “We want to thank everyone who has shown us their love over the last few years, we have been carried by your support,” added the group.
Karl Tremblay announced in 2022 that he was battling prostate cancer, forcing the group to cancel several concerts in recent months after a final tour in the summer of 2023. “A big star, a beautiful star. A shooting star. Karl Tremblay has left us and all of Quebec is crying,” declared François Legault, Quebec Prime Minister on X (formerly Twitter). Same emotion for Steven Guilbeault, the Canadian Minister of the Environment: “Tonight, Quebec is crying. Have a good rest Karl, you’ve made us dance, sing and cry for decades.” The mayor of Quebec, for his part, announced that the city's flags would be lowered to half-mast on Thursday to "highlight the cultural heritage of Karl Tremblay."
No group in the history of music in Quebec has enjoyed such success over such a long period. Les Cowboys Fringants, who have sold more than a million albums, are also the most listened to Quebec artists on platforms.