Leonard Cohen’s representative announced the death of the influential poet and novelist through his Facebook page.
It was announced that a memorial would take place in Los Angeles in the near future, while the musician’s family has asked for respect for their privacy during their grievance.
“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter, and artist Leonard Cohen has passed away,” reads the post on his wall.
Cohen’s legacy as a songwriter
Leonard Cohen’s most widely known tune is Hallelujah, made famous by Jeff Buckley’s interpretation in 1994. Hallelujah has been interpreted by hundreds of artists since its writing and has become a must-know for songwriters.
He was born in Quebec, Canada. Oftentimes compared to Bob Dylan, Cohen’s writing style was focused on many topics including religion, politics, and sexuality, being acknowledged as one of the most complex and influential songwriters in the 1960s.
Cohen released his first album in 1967 titled “Songs of Leonard Cohen,” and then releasing “Songs from a Room,” both of which are featured in “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.” The latter featured Bird on the Wire, one of his most iconic songs.
Hallelujah, his most widely-known piece was released in 1984, featured in the album Various Positions. But even with a successful career and future Cohen did not stop writing songs, making it to 2016 and releasing You Want It Darker just weeks before he died.
Passing on to others
According to the Washington Post, Cohen died on November 7 at his home in Los Angeles. He left a family comprised of two children and two grandchildren. Adam, one of his sons, explained that he was certain that his father had died peacefully, knowing that You Want It Darker was one of his greatest works.
Cohen is known to have influenced many young artists, among which are Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain, both talented musicians that died under precarious circumstances. Cobain had referenced Cohen in Nirvana’s Pennyroyal Tea, and after his suicide, Cohen lamented that he couldn’t have spoken to the Nirvana frontman before it was too late.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t have spoken to the young man. I see a lot of people at the Zen Centre, who have gone through drugs and found a way out that is not just Sunday school. There are always alternatives, and I might have been able to lay something on him,” stated Cohen according to The Guardian.
Leonard Cohen never got married, arguing that he was “too frightened” to do so. He was a spiritual man with strong beliefs in Jewish traditions, particularly the commitment to the Sabbath. Cohen was known to be observant of Scientology and even became ordained a Buddhist monk in 1996.
When playing in Israel, he prayed with the audience in Hebrew and opened the concert with the first sentence of the Ma Tovu “Ma tovu ohalekha Ya’akov, mishk’notekha Yisra’el,” a prayer in Judaism to express reverence, translating to “How great are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!”
Source: USA Today