Leonard Cohen’s death was announced on his Facebook fan page today:
It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.
“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”
Cohen was born in Montreal on September 21st, 1934. His father Nathan was a clothing retailer who died when Cohen was 9. One of his grandfathers was a Talmudic Scholar while the other founded the Canadian Jewish Congress. Lou Reed, during Cohen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, described him as the “highest and most influential echelon of songwriters.” Cohen’s hits, in a career that spanned over 5 decades, included Suzanne and I’m Your Man and he released his 14th album, You Want It Darker, just last month. His song Hallelujah may hold the pop music record for highest ratio of covers to initial popular success, having been covered at least 300 times by artists as diverse as Bono and KD Lange.
After releasing You Want it Darker in October 2016, Cohen revealed in an interview that he was in very poor health. “I am ready to die,” he said. “I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.” Cohen later clarified that he was merely exaggerating. “I’ve always been into self-dramatization,” Cohen said last month. “I intend to live forever.”
His hit song So Long Marianne, was written about his lover and muse Marianne Ihlen, whom he met in Greece in the 1960s. In July this year, when he heard that Ihlen was nearing death, he wrote to her: “Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”