Leonard Cohen, Legendary Singer-Songwriter, Has Died

Leonard Cohen, Legendary Singer-Songwriter, Has Died

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian poet, novelist and musician best known for writing the song "Hallelujah," has died. He was 82.

News of Cohen’s death was posted on his Facebook page.

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away," read the statement. "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."

Last month, Cohen said in a New Yorker magazine profile: "I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.” A few days later, at a listening party for his latest album, "You Want It Darker," released October 21, he backtracked, saying, "I said I was ready to die recently, and I think I was exaggerating. I’ve always been into self-dramatization. I intend to live forever.”

He added, "I hope we can do this again. I intend to stick around until 120.”

Cohen published his first volume of poetry in 1956, and wrote two novels, "Beautiful Losers" and "The Favorite Game." He also continued to write poetry, setting some of the works from his 1966 book, "Parasites of Heaven," to music. Singer Judy Collins recorded one, titled "Suzanne." Cohen later performed with Collins, and then at the Newport Folk Festival, and released his debut album in 1968.

Songs from Cohen's subsequent albums were recorded and popularized by other artists, such as "Famous Blue Raincoat," and "Bird on the Wire." In 1984, he released the album Various Positions, which contained "Hallelujah." The modern definitive version of that song was recorded by the late Jeff Buckley for his 1994 album, Grace, but it's subsequently been recorded by over 300 other artists, and is a staple of TV singing competitions.

The title track of Cohen's 1991 album, "I'm Your Man," is also popular -- most recently, Michael Buble recorded it on his 2007 album "Call Me Irresponsible." It also inspired the title of a 1991 tribute album called "I'm Your Fan," featuring Cohen songs performed by R.E.M., Nick Cave and Pixies. Another tribute album, 1995's "Tower of Song," featured Elton John, Bono, Willie Nelson, Billy Joel, Peter Gabriel and Don Henley.

Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and was also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a number of Juno Awards, and dozens of other honors. He continued to record, tour and release volumes of poetry into the 2000s.

Though he was an observant Jew, Cohen was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1996 and lived in a monastery near L.A. for several years in the '90s.



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