Today, November 10, Leonard Cohen passed away at the age of 82. The multi-talented musician and writer was immortalized by his 1984 song “Hallelujah,” which has been culturally ubiquitous since Jeff Buckley’s iconic 1992 cover. Though “Hallelujah” stands out as Cohen’s most timeless track, the artist was anything but a one-hit wonder. Even in his later years, Cohen remained a prolific musician. Just as David Bowie released Blackstar within a week of his death, Cohen released his fourteenth album, You Want It Darker, on October 21 – three weeks prior to his passing.
Cohen spurred a media resurgence prior to his final album’s release, when he macabrely told the New Yorker,“I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable.” Days after publicly accepting his mortality, Cohen remarked to Billboard, “I intend to stick around until 120.” In the same interview, the artist also noted his penchant for exaggeration and “self-dramatization,” so his stated desire to live for another three decades may likely have been an exaggeration itself.
Regardless of Cohen’s position regarding his own mortality, his death is yet another tragic loss to the artistic community. The prodigious artist had a number of unfinished songs to share with the world, and undoubtedly many candid insights. Cohen’s cause of death has not been officially reported, though he was known to have longstanding health issues.
Leonard Cohen wrote the following letter to his muse and longtime friend Marianne Ihlen two days before her death in July:
“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.”
Rest in peace, Leonard Cohen. We hope that your hand once again clasps Marianne’s. In your honor, we utter a cold and broken “Hallelujah.”
Via: Pitchfork, New Yorker, and Billboard
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