Leonard Cohen, the iconic singer-songwriter whose appeal spanned six decades, crossing multiple generations and winning fans of all musical tastes, died at the age of 82 at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday.
“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter, and artist Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the singer’s Facebook page said. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.”
The singer, who released his final album, “You Want It Darker,” just last month, had suggested the end was near. “I am ready to die,” he told The New Yorker in October. “I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”
The widespread appeal of the man, who began his life as a poet and whose influence has been likened to that of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, was immediately seen Thursday night in the flood of tributes on social media, from artists across all professions and genres.
RIP Leonard Cohen #hero
Cohen is best known for his iconic “Hallelujah,” a song that took him 15 years to complete, and was later made famous by Jeff Buckley’s cover in 1994, a decade after the original was released. Over 300 known versions have been recorded of the song. In 2009, Cohen said of the song: “I think it’s a good song, but I think too many people sing it.”
Tributes also came from those Cohen worked with, including renowned session musician Charlie Daniels, who worked with the singer on his albums “Songs From a Room” and “Songs of Love and Hate”:
Another standout Cohen song was “So Long, Marianne,” written about his muse, Marianne Ihlen, whom the singer met on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960 when he was writing poetry. This past summer, as Cohen felt close to death and Marianne herself was close to death, he wrote to his muse once again:
She died the next day, and Marianne’s close friend responded to Cohen.
While Cohen had not lived in Canada for a long time, he had received the country’s highest civilian honor — the Companion of the Order of Canada — and on Friday flags in Montreal, where Cohen grew up, are flying at half-mast. The mayor of the city, Denis Coderre, paid tribute:
As did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: