Leonard Cohen, the legendary Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist has died on November 7, at age 82. The news was confirmed on the artist’s Facebook page Thursday night.
On October 21, 2016, Cohen released his fourteenth and final studio album You Want It Darker, produced by him, his son Adam Cohen and Patrick Leonard.
Born on September 21, 1934, Cohen learned to play a regular acoustic guitar in his teens, and formed a group called The Buckskin Boys. Later, after meeting a Spanish flamenco guitar player, he switched to classical guitar.
His first poems were published in March 1954 in a magazine, while he was a student at McGill University. One year after graduation, Cohen published his first book of poetry – Let Us Compare Mythologies, and he continued to write poetry and fiction throughout the 1960s.
Since 1967, driven by the lack of financial success as a writer, Cohen moved to United States dreaming at a career as a folk music singer-songwriter. His first album — Songs of Leonard Cohen — released in 1967, was followed up by thirteen others like: Songs from a Room (1969), New Skin For Old Ceremony (1974), I’m Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Popular Problems (2014) or You Want It Darker (2016).
With a music career which spanned decades, and songs like Suzanne, Hallelujah, Famous Blue Raincoat, Everybody Knows, So Long Marianne or Dance Me to the End of Love, Leonard Cohen succeeded in making music that has changed the world.
Cohen took a break of five years (1994-1999) from the music industry and lived at Mount Baldy Zen Center, where he was officially ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk on August 9, 1996. “My life was filled with great disorder, with chaos, and I achieved a little discipline there. So I decided to return to music,” Cohen said.
On July 28, 2016, Marianne C. Stang Jensen Ihlen, the woman about and for who was written the song So Long Marianne, died at age 81. “[…] 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,” wrote Cohen in the farewell letter which was read at her funeral.
Though was quoted by the New Yorker as saying he is “ready to die,” Cohen later clarified that he was “exagerating”. “I’ve always been into self-dramatization. I intend to live forever.[…] I intend to stick around until 120,” the Canadian singer/songwriter said.
A memorial is expected to take place in Los Angeles soon.
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