Friday 23 February 2018

'One of the greatest, deepest and wisest to ever bless us' - Tributes pour in for singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen who died aged 82

Leonard Cohen performing at Glastonbury in 2008. Photo: Reuters
Leonard Cohen performing at Glastonbury in 2008. Photo: Reuters
Leonard Cohen sings at the O2 Arena Dublin
Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has passed away at age 82
Leonard Cohen pictured in 1980. Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images
Canadian musician/writer Leonard Cohen speaks after receiving the Glenn Gould Prize in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 14, 2012. Photo: Reuters
Musician Leonard Cohen tips his hat to the audience as he accepts the 2012 Awards for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence, which was awarded to both he and Chuck Berry at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. on February 26, 2012. Photo: Reuters
Leonard Cohen performing at the Isle of Wight Festival. Photo:Tony Russell/Redferns
Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has passed away at age 82. Photo: Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Leonard Cohen performing at the Isle of Wight Festival. Photo: Tony Russell/Redferns Newsdesk Newsdesk

Revered singer, songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen has died aged 82.

The Canadian Grammy Award winner, best known for writing Hallelujah, a song famously covered by Jeff Buckley, was described as "one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries" in a statement announcing his death on his Facebook page.

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away," it said.

How, when or where Cohen died was not revealed, although a memorial service will take place in Los Angeles at a later date, the post said.

His death comes just months after that of his muse, Marianne Ihlen, the subject of his song So Long Marianne.

In a letter reportedly sent to his former lover shortly before she died, Cohen said: "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."

Mourners line up in front of the home of singer and poet Leonard Cohen (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
Mourners line up in front of the home of singer and poet Leonard Cohen (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
A man places candles in front of the home of singer and poet Leonard Cohen (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Cohen released his fourteenth studio album, You Want It Darker, in October, topping the charts in 10 countries.

At the time he told the New Yorker magazine: "I've got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it's not too uncomfortable. That's about it for me."

Cohen's career spanned six decades and saw him inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

According to reports on the Leonard Cohen forum, he passed away on Monday, and has been buried in a private ceremony in Montreal.

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As news of his death emerged tributes soon followed, with fellow artists and fans hailing him as a "hero" and a "visionary" - many also quoting his lyrics.

Concert: Leonard Cohen at Lissadell
Concert: Leonard Cohen at Lissadell
Leonard Cohen poses backstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony after he was inducted in 2008. Photo: AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "No other artist's music felt or sounded like Leonard Cohen's. Yet his work resonated across generations. Canada and the world will miss him."

The PM tweeted lyrics to Cohen's oft-covered song, Hallelujah: "There's a blaze of light In every word It doesn't matter which you heard The holy or the broken Hallelujah #RIPLeonard".

Neil Portnow, chief executive of the Recording Academy who honoured Cohen with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2010, said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Grammy Award winner and 2010 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Leonard Cohen.

"During an influential career that spanned more than five decades, Leonard became one of the most revered pop poets and a musical touchstone for many songwriters. His extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless singers and songwriters, as well as the wider culture.

"We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to Leonard's family, friends, and collaborators. He will be missed terribly."

Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello said the artist was "one of the greatest, deepest and wisest to ever bless us with his songs".

Carole King tweeted: "R.I.P Leonard Cohen."

Countryman Kiefer Sutherland said: "A brilliant Canadian artist passed today. Leonard Cohen, rest in peace. Hallelujah."

Canadian director Ron Howard tweeted: "One of my favorite singer-poets. RIP Legendary Musician Leonard Cohen."

Russell Crowe wrote: "Dear Leonard Cohen, thanks for the quiet nights, the reflection, the perspective, the wry smiles and the truth #towerofsong"

US comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted: "RIP Leonard Cohen. Ugh. It feels pointed, this death. It's making us remember songs like Come Healing which is a good one for these days."

US band OneRepublic tweeted: "R.I.P Leonard Cohen. U are without a doubt one of the greatest songs writers of any generation. THANK YOU for your life. #RIPLeonard".

American singer-songwriter Regina Spektor wrote on twitter; "Such sad news ... The great Leonard Cohen has passed away. Thank's for what your music has done for humanity ... Kindness, love, beauty, poetry."

Lily Allen tweeted: "As if the week could get any worse. Thank you Leonard Cohen, for all the things. Rest In Peace"

Bastille founder Dan Smith said: "Leonard Cohen was a proper genius. I was raised on his music."

Jennifer Hudson tweeted: "RIP Leonard Cohen. Thank you for you dedication to music, & writing one of my favorite songs to sing "Hallelujah".

Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig wrote on Twitter: "Leonard Cohen, what a guy - first album at 33 - dropped "Hallelujah" at 50 - first arena shows in his 70s He did it til the end. RIP"

Joy Division and New Order co-founder Peter Hook tweeted: "RIP Leonard Cohen - God bless. X"

US singer-songwriter Ben Folds tweeted: "Kids. Take a moment to listen to Leonard Cohen's song Going Home when you can. RIP L Cohen and thank you."

American composer Eric Whiteacre tweeted: "Leonard Cohen has passed, one of the truest and purest poets I know. There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."

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