Beloved Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has died at age 82, according to an announcement posted to his official Facebook page Thursday night. His son Adam Cohen said in a statement, "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. He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor." Cohen released his final album, You Want It Darker, just last month.
Cohen began his career as a novelist and poet, but he turned to songwriting in the 1960s, releasing his first album in 1967. In 2008 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. He was known for songs such as "Suzanne," "Everybody Knows," and most famously "Hallelujah," which was originally recorded in 1984 and has since been covered by many artists and featured in several movies and TV series.
Larry Rohter wrote the following of Cohen's music in his New York Times obituary:
Over a musical career that spanned nearly five decades, Mr. Cohen wrote songs that addressed — in spare language that could be both oblique and telling — themes of love and faith, despair and exaltation, solitude and connection, war and politics. More than 2,000 recordings of his songs have been made, initially by the folk-pop singers who were his first champions, like Judy Collins and Tim Hardin, and later by performers from across the spectrum of popular music, among them U2, Aretha Franklin, R.E.M., Jeff Buckley, Trisha Yearwood and Elton John.
In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Cohen said, "I am ready to die. I hope it's not too uncomfortable. That's about it for me." According to Billboard, he said later that he was "exaggerating," and added, "I've always been into self-dramatization. I intend to live forever."
And through his timeless music, he will. Following news of his death, Twitter was flooded with tributes from musicians and others who were touched by Cohen's work. They shared song lyrics, fond memories, and performances.
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