Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has died, his record label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed on Thursday. He was 82.
“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” read a post on Cohen’s Facebook page. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.” A cause of death was not given.
Cohen was first discovered by Columbia Records talent scout John H. Hammond in 1967, who also signed Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Bruce Springsteen. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was released later that year, featuring hit song “Suzanne.” Cohen quickly proved his worth as a songwriter, penning songs for artists like Judy Collins, James Taylor, Willie Nelson and others, though is perhaps best known for writing the 1984 song, “Hallelujah” — famously covered by Dylan, Nelson, John Cale and Jeff Buckley, and Rufus Wainwright.
In 1995, Cohen took a break from the music industry and became an ordained Buddhist monk with the Dharma name Jikan (“silence”), during which time he cooked for Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi. Cohen broke his silence in 2001 with a collaborative album with Sharon Robinson, Ten New Songs, and released four more albums before his death.
In 2005, it was discovered that Cohen’s longtime manager, Kelley Lynch, had robbed the musician of more than $ 5 million from his retirement account. To replenish the funds, Cohen undertook a massive two-year-tour.
Born with a gift for words, Cohen was also a noted poet and novelist, publishing two novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers before his debut album. Cohen was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and released his latest album, You Want It Darker, just last month.
Towards the end of his life, it seems the idea of mortality was a focus for the musician, who told The New Yorker he was “ready to die” in October. “I hope it’s not too uncomfortable.” Weeks later, however, Cohen retracted his statement about death, saying “I’ve always been into self-dramatization. I intend to live forever… I intend to stick around until 120.”
Cohen is survived by his two children, photographer Lorca, and Low Millions singer Adam.
See Hollywood’s reaction to Cohen’s death below:
Leonard Cohen has died. Another magical voice stilled.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) November 11, 2016
Leonard Cohen dying is so goddamned symbolic right now. You just don’t let up, do you 2016?
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 11, 2016
RIP Leonard Cohen. He got out just in time.
— marc maron (@marcmaron) November 11, 2016
Now Leonard Cohen is dead. This is taking the whole “I’m leaving if Trump wins” thing too far.
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) November 11, 2016
Oh dear God, Leonard Cohen. Perfect. Perfect. Good 2016. Stay consistent. You piece of shit.
— Jen Nasty Kirkwoman (@JenKirkman) November 11, 2016
Damnit 2016. So sad to hear about the passing of Leonard Cohen. What an incredible creative voice.
— katevoegele (@katevoegele) November 11, 2016