In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen spoke of his poor health.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to finish those songs. Maybe, who knows? And maybe I’ll get a second wind, I don’t know,” Cohen told the magazine. “I’ve got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”
At the time, it was difficult to parse out what to make of the statement. After all, Cohen had always been dark: In his 50s, he sang “My friends are gone, and my hair is gray. I ache in the places where I used to play.” His last album was titled “You Want It Darker.” In a song titled, “The Future,” he sang, “I’ve seen the future, baby: It is murder.”
Then, on Nov. 7, the music legend died.
Three days later, when his death announced, no cause of death was given, though it’s been reported he had cancer.
In a statement released yesterday, Robert Kory, Cohen’s manager, said the musician died in his sleep after falling in the middle of the night on Nov. 7. As a silver lining, Cohen’s wish of death not being “too uncomfortable” was granted — Kory said the death was peaceful.
Here is his statement, via Cohencentric:
Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7th. The death was sudden, unexpected, and peaceful. He is survived by his children Adam and Lorca, and his three grandchildren Cassius (Adam’s son), and Viva and Lyon (Lorca’s daughter and son).
Cohen’s funeral took place on Sunday. He was buried in an “unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father,” which is “exactly as he’d asked.”
His son Adam Cohen, a musician himself, described the service and offered a written eulogy of sorts on Facebook.
“As I write this I’m thinking of my father’s unique blend of self-deprecation and dignity, his approachable elegance, his charisma without audacity, his old-world gentlemanliness and the hand-forged tower of his work,” Adam wrote. “There’s so much I wish I could thank him for, just one last time. I’d thank him for the comfort he always provided, for the wisdom he dispensed, for the marathon conversations, for his dazzling wit and humor.”
“I’d thank him for giving me, and teaching me to love Montreal and Greece,” Adam continued. “And I’d thank him for music; first for his music which seduced me as a boy, then for his encouragement of my own music, and finally for the privilege of being able to make music with him.”
Since Cohen’s death, many others have offered their own small eulogies.
As is often the case when a celebrity passes, many took to social media to express their praise for and gratitude to the singer.
A spirit and soul beyond compare.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) November 11, 2016
Next year can only be better. Seeing Leonard Cohen walking on St Laurent street when I was 21 was enough to make me feel like I had a home
— win butler (@DJWindows98) November 11, 2016
No other artist's music felt or sounded like Leonard Cohen's. Yet his work resonated across generations. Canada and the world will miss him.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 11, 2016
Leonard Cohen, what a guy
– first album at 33
– dropped "Hallelujah" at 50
– first arena shows in his 70s
He did it til the end. RIP
— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) November 11, 2016
So long Leonard, thank you for your words, your songs, your life– a gentleman a master a hero– thank you for looking so deeply, for sharing your time giving us your finely wrought diamonds, for lighting the dark corners where the soul lives, for translating the otherness we recognize but fail to express, tonight we celebrate you and send you our gratitude x
Others have offered their own takes on his songs. Kate McKinnon played his famous song “Hallelujah” as Hillary Clinton as the cold open of this past week’s “Saturday Night Live.” When she finished the song, she turned to the camera and said, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”
Pop star Lana Del Ray, who had previously covered Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2,” posted to Instagram a brief clip of her singing the song along with the following message: “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t kind of break my heart that I never got to tell you how much you changed me. Not that it would’ve mattered to ya, it’s just that other than Bob and Joan you were the only person I ever really felt spoke my language. I love you as a real fan and I always looked for a little bit of you in all of my future friends. God bless.”
I'd be lying if I said it didn't kind of break my heart that I never got to tell you how much you changed me. Not that it would've mattered to ya, it's just that other than Bob and Joan you were the only person I ever really felt spoke my language. I love you as a real fan and I always looked for a little bit of you in all of my future friends. God bless.
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