Thursday 18 January 2018

Singer penned heartbreaking letter of comfort to dying lover

Marianne Ihlen
Marianne Ihlen Newsdesk Newsdesk

Leonard Cohen penned a heartbreaking final letter to his muse, Marianne Ihlen, before she passed away on July 29 this year, aged 81.

Ms Ihlen inspired the likes of 'So Long, Marianne' and 'Bird on a Wire' after the pair had met on the Greek island of Hydra in the 1960s and became romantically intertwined.

Ms Ihlen's close friend Jan Christian Mollestad, a documentary filmmaker, broke the news to Mr Cohen that she was dying and had received a letter in return to read to Ihlen. "It 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'," Mr Mollestad recalled. "'Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye, old friend. Endless love, see you down the road'.

"When I read the lines 'stretch out your hand', she stretched out her hand. Only two days later she lost consciousness and slipped into death. I wrote a letter back to Leonard saying in her final moments I hummed 'A Bird on a Wire' because that was the song she felt closest to. And then I kissed her on the head and left the room, and said 'so long, Marianne'."

Mr Mollestad said Ms Ihlen had been "so happy" to receive the letter from Mr Cohen.

Read more: Chris Martin pays tribute to Leonard Cohen as Coldplay return to London stage

Independent News Service

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